I’m not quite sure I am able to express the tug these images have on my heartstrings. Selections from my family’s slide suitcase found on the top of my granny’s linen closet two summers ago.
She had already moved out by then. Not by choice. My aunt had her moved to a nursing home in central Florida, and we were left to clear out her belongings. It felt like she had suddenly died, but we knew she was still alive. And doing well, apparently. I heard from my mother that she has a boyfriend in her nursing home. That means she actually has two boyfriends, now: one who still lives in the house behind the house in which I found these slides and the one in the nursing home. She likes having two boyfriends, I hear. She has Alzheimers, so I think she forgets sometimes.
I want to show my grandmother all of these pictures and I want her to tell me stories about them. I want her to know who all of these people are, and what they were doing that day, and what food they grilled and what that guy is pointing at. I want to know where these photos were taken so I can go to those places and feel what happened there, even if it was just another barbecue.
But I don’t speak to her that much anymore. Last time I visited her in Florida, I apologized for not speaking with her as much as I want to. And it’s not that I don’t have the time or energy or that I don’t think about her. I just don’t know how to reconcile our conversation because I know she won’t remember. And I know she doesn’t remember that I told her I was sorry and that we cried a lot and how tightly she held my hands.
People have told me that I should keep in touch with her for me, not for her. Because, at this point, it won’t make much difference how she feels. They say I should keep talking to her to keep myself from feeling guilty, if I suspect I’ll feel guilty about it.
The thing is I’m trying to just forget about feeling guilty. And these images help me, in some way.