The Photo

My father passed away October 30th, 2012. As I was in the process of grieving his passing and helping my stepmother plan his funeral, I received a message that would have a profound impact on what I knew about my father.
Let me interject an image for you to help you understand what this message did to me. I’m hoping you are familiar with snow globes. Basically they are globes with some sort of scenery inside surrounded in liquid and a bunch of little particles and glitter that represent snow. When the globe is stationary, all of the “snow” is settled and calm, but when you shake that snow globe, the “snow” swirls everywhere inside and initially it appears that you can’t really see the scenery that was there. But eventually as the “snow” settles, things become calm and clear, with perhaps a slightly different perspective of the scene.
Well, when I received a message along with a photo attachment of a baby from my cousin which said, something to the effect of…did you know you have an older brother?…I felt like I was on the inside of one very large snow globe and someone had just given it an incredibly vigorous shake. I don’t really remember exactly how I replied. She did go on to explain that I was able to know now and she had more to show me. I guess there had been some conflict over the years with some wanting me to know while the majority ruled otherwise. I had so many questions. I had so many emotions. My world seemed to be swirling like the inside of the snow globe and as hard as I try, I can’t remember all the details of that conversation taking place via message. What I do remember is staring at that photo and wondering…
Years prior to this moment, it had been mentioned to me that he had a son but when I tried to inquire about it, I was met with massive resistance and even denials from some. I was too young to push the issue and I did as I was told, which was to forget about it. And I did, kinda. I think I may have pushed it so far out of my mind that it really did seem to get “lost” until that day when I received that message with an actual photo.
At the funeral, my cousin presented me with a manila envelope which included the contents of what she had divulged to me. I tucked it away and decided I would open it when I was a little further along in the grieving process. This was a lot to take on emotionally and I was feeling raw over my loss. I would wait until I was ready. I just wasn’t sure when. I was grieving for the loss of my father and trying to help my daughter, who was 12 at the time, navigate the loss of her grandfather.
Time has a funny way of going by much faster than we want it to sometimes. I am so guilty of getting lost in time and taking things for granted. Losing a loved one will snap you back into reality and bring clarity that we all need to heed. And so part of the grieving process for me was to cherish my time with my loved ones and try my best to not take anything for granted. Remember these pearls of advice, as they will often repeat in life.
So the envelope and its contents remained tucked away as I was busy trying to be the best mom and wife I could be to my family. And I was embracing my friendships even tighter as well. I was living in the moment and thriving on it. And one day I felt strong enough and ready to open that envelope and explore the contents.
I was alone when I spilled the contents on my desk. Out tumbled letters in envelopes, two cards in envelopes and the photo…THE PHOTO. For the first time, I held it in my hands. I took in the moment. I even remember the scent of everything. I realize that may sound odd but everything was aged with time and that has a specific smell…history…and in this case…could it be a link to family?
In the next post, I will share the contents of those hand written letters and cards because that deserves it’s own separate post.
Thank you for following along on my journey of connection. Until next time…here is the photo that started this whole adventure of discovery.

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