This morning while rummaging through a catch-all drawer in one of my spare bedrooms, I came across an old black and white photograph I wasn’t looking for. Staring back at me was my grandmother, standing in a large grassy field, her arm wrapped around the shoulder of her father in law – my great grandfather.
She appeared to be in her early 30’s – a beautiful young woman with a pouting smile, curly dark hair and skin, smooth and creamy. Always conscious of her physical appearance, she looked as though she was posing for a photo shoot rather than for my grandfather who I assume was standing behind the camera.
I showed this picture to my grandmother recently, who turned 90 last September. She smiled from ear to ear as she took the photograph in her arthritic hand – no doubt remembering that day and the man she often says I would’ve liked.
That photograph reminded me of something that we often overlook in life, especially when sitting in the company of those nearing the end of their lives – they too were young once.
They had hopes and dreams for their future; a career, a family and hardships many of us could never imagine. My grandmother lived through wars, the Great Depression, the struggle of being 1 of 9 children and heading out into the workforce in her early 40’s after raising two children and taking care of a home.
While her life might now seem void of purpose, her history still remains – her stories of love, suffering and utter joy are still alive and well in her heart and soul. And because of this, her existence still deserves to be recognized.
But in this society we don’t revere the elderly, we simply forget about them – forget about people who’ve enabled us to have life and whose life was once filled with meaning.
Our lives are chaotic, there’s no arguing that point. But I’m sure we all could find a little time during our week to visit those who’ve come before us – if for no other reason than to once again give someone’s life a little purpose.