Friday, January 29, 2010


A few years ago, I can't remember how many, I went to the library and came across a book. I was browsing in the over-sized section and read the title on one of the books spines. It said Sleeping Beauties, so I pulled it off the shelf and opened it. At the time I was shocked, I began turning the pages and found myself looking at photograph after photograph of dead people. These were old photos, probably from around the turn of the century. The people were dressed nicely and many of them were posed on chairs as if they were living. In some there were entire families posed together, I'm assuming they had died from the same illness. Looking at these images I began to feel horrible, I felt a quiver inside of my chest and kept shaking my head to try and ease some of its confusion. But I looked longer, too long I think. The pictures that were the hardest for me to take in were those of children and infants. I began to realize then why the people were posed and dressed so well. It was because most of them had probably never had their picture taken before, cameras were not common items then. This was their only chance to keep the face of their loved ones in the physical world. Their last reminder. I still did not like that I had seen those photos. I felt like I was invading a sacred place, I felt like I was intruding upon a place of mourning. I did not belong there. I closed the book and returned it to the shelf.
Once when I went to the library while I was pregant with you Frost, I found myself in the vacinity of that book. I kept my eyes lowered so that I would not be able to see if it was there on the shelf. I had a vague memory of the pictures in my head and I did not want to see the babies again, not ever, especially not while you were inside of me. I turned and walked away. A month or two later we were told that you had died. We had to go home to get ready for the delivery and to be alone for a bit. Your Daddy and his Mom began talking about having pictures of you taken, and I panicked. Other family members started to say that it would be good, they thought that it would help us afterward. I did not know what to think, but I knew that it would be our only chance, we were just like those people in the book. Pictures were taken.
When I look at your photos I do not have the same feeling of dread as I did before. Now I feel a calm. I study your face and try to find us in you. I see beauty in the miracle that you were, and I know that this is what those families so long ago were holding on to and wanting to share. Their pictures do not haunt me anymore. They bring me a peace. They are an affirmation of the love that made life. Family.
Night, night Frost
Mama loves you.

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