The past few days I have been looking through old photographs as I unpack more boxes and work on settling into our forever home. Memories, as they do, tend to come in waves, often triggered by a smell or a song or – as in this case – a long forgotten photograph.
The photo attached to this blog piece was taken 13 months before my mother would die from cancer. I was just 23 in this photo. I can see the happiness, hope, and indeed the love for life in my eyes. And the youth. Oh, the youth!
Where did it all go?
I can tell you that it is still here. Hidden somewhere deep within me, those remnants of what life can bring still lie dormant, waiting for Springtime in my soul. I must hold onto the belief that these beautiful things which lie dormant within me – happiness, hope, love of life – will one day blossom again.
Shortly after I found these old photos, I was on my laptop chatting with a friend. As I went to log off, my reflection shone in the dark screen. It wasn’t the same young woman from the photograph. This one was tired, aged, and definitely not nearly as pretty. I went and looked in the mirror. I was overcome with sadness – and disappointment – as I realised the heavy toll the past 2 years of Brendan Bjorn being mostly bedridden and/or housebound has taken on me. I look, and am, exhausted.
The looking glass can be cruel, absolutely.
We should all remember, though, it’s just part of the picture.
I went back into the room and picked up that old photograph of me. I gave myself permission to say I looked beautiful. But you know what the ironic thing is? At that time of my life I felt terribly unattractive, undesirable, and I suppose even unworthy of the best life had to offer. As I sat there thinking about that poignant realisation, it also dawned on me that maybe, just maybe, I shouldn’t be so hard on myself today. Life has been hard, life IS hard, and one day what is beautiful within me will blossom again…even if the outer picture never looks as good again.
Life is what it is. And it is what we make of it. I think it’s far more important we all have a looking glass into our character, our soul, our heart, than the one which reflects our face. Maybe if more people did that, children like Brendan Bjorn would be treated as equally worthy, valuable, and thus cared for as the precious gifts they truly are.