Posted on 2nd February, 2022
Looking back on the year that has passed, there is so much to sort through that it feels overwhelming; there are moments that I'm happy to forget, times I let someone down. All the chaos in the world.
Yes, a new slate feels like opening the door to a freshly cleaned house with bread in the oven. And yet, I'm not ready to say goodbye. This was the year that held family and friends, conversations and connection, hope and healing.
How can I hold on while letting go? I'm reminded of my client who wanted to be able to find photos of her mom. She came to me overwhelmed with the fresh grief of losing her mom very quickly to cancer. Her mother had worked hard as a single mom and teacher to provide an adventurous life for her and her brother: camping, hiking, traveling to Canada, Australia and New Zealand - a lifetime of laughter and love scattered across photo albums, boxes, and drives. Precious bonds were forged even as the moments were forgotten.
This wasn't just a pile of photos. This was family history. But it was too late to ask questions, to learn more about a life that was gone too soon, too unexpectedly.
She wanted to reminisce and share every photo she pulled out of the pile, getting nowhere as the days to the memorial counted down. There were so many photos, so many emotions, and so little time. She wanted to hold on to her mother's legacy, even as she had to let her go.
My team used our process and tools to:
When we needed our client's help to identify people for our facial recognition system, we passed tissues and cried with her, sharing this journey of happy memories and longing for more. Of holding on while letting go.
No longer is this legacy scattered and forgotten in boxes in the back of a closet. Our client now has an organized system that not only showcases all the precious moments of her mom's life but also preserves them for generations to come.
This photo collection is now a way to learn about the past as her family moves forward. It honors a woman who made a good life possible for so many.
A few months ago, we received a text from our client, as she prepared for the memorial: "Hi, we're having my mom's service on Saturday. And it's been so much easier having all of these photos already loaded onto SmugMug. I'm putting some pictures in frames, and my brother is making a video photo show. I just want to say thanks again, this really makes this whole process a lot easier, during a difficult time."
So as we said goodbye to this year, remember that it's not really an end. We can take what matters with us, tucked into our hearts, shared through photos and stories. Let's start another year with the intention to build upon these legacies. Let's live. Let's remember. Let's carry on.