I have a lot of little photos at my desk, all around me. Actually, they’re Stickygrams, those awesome mini-magnets of your Instagram photos.
But the most important photo at my desk isn’t a Stickygram. Because I don’t have an Instagram photo of my parents. They died before Stickygram was invented. Before Instagram, even. They died four weeks apart in June and July of 2010, both of sudden, unexpected illnesses that punched a huge hole in my life, never to be mended again.
But the photo doesn’t make me sad. The photo makes me think how made-of-awesome I am. That love that parents give their children makes me think about how much my parents meant to me, that I, as an unnecessarily independent person, didn’t even realize until they were gone. Turns out, you don’t feel the floor under your feet until you’re falling.
One day a few months ago, I was sitting at my desk, doing that funny daydreaming thing that leads to writing, and I was once again feeling that curious sense of empty, that the two people who always wanted to know how I was doing weren’t on the planet anymore. And suddenly, I wanted to see them.
So I opened up my camera on my iPhone and located a photo I had there: a photo of a photo of my parents in the ’70s. I had taken the photo of the photo on one of the days I was organizing all the family memories and scrapbooks — my post-funeral task, and a task of which I have barely scratched the surface, these three years later. I had texted it to my brothers that day, and this day, I printed it out immediately, knowing clearly, suddenly, that what I wanted was to have them in front of my face, seeing me, always.
And so I do.