About six months back my grandfather passed away and my grandmother, who could not absorb the shock of being separated from a man she had spent 56 years together followed soon after. The double grief really felled our family for some time but human nature being so resilient, all of us were soon back to our normal lives. But for me, it was not so easy at first. Fleeting images of the time I had spent with them appeared before me whenever I closed my eyes. I just could not shake it off, a kaleidoscope of the good times we had spent together not so very long ago.
However, a bonanza awaited me and even I was taken by complete surprise. While cleaning out the attic last month, I chanced upon a bunch of old family photos, black and white, frayed at the edges and slightly yellowish. And a number of them had my grandparents and I in the frame. Why is it that probably the best photos of childhood are generally with grandparents? It is because the happiness of childhood with those who love you, who pamper you and who protect you from the strict discipline meted out by parents is forever etched in your mind. And the value of the photos? Priceless.
One of the later memories with my grandparents was when my grandfather had to get additional help for his daily chores. Grandma had become too weak to help him out. A young and very empathetic nurse used to come in daily to look after him. She was a bubbly young thing and said that she had completed a certificate III in aged care online to specifically work with the old and the infirm. Even at that young age, I could make out that she really cared for grandpa and went out of his way to see that he was comfortable at all times.
Coming back to the photos that I found in the attic – it was such an emotional experience with every shot having a story to tell. There I was on a pony at our farm with grandpa leading it on. What the picture did not say was that soon after I had fallen off the pony! And there I was deep in conversation with grandma. The topic – where to hide grandpa’s shoes just before he was due to go to the market.
The best photos are those that strike an inner chord in you, those that open floodgates of memories. These for most children will be photos with grandparents.