I’ve always loved photographs. I’ve had a camera of some description pretty much attached to me ever since I was about six or seven years old when my parents bought me my first camera. It used film, no digital technology back in the late 90s, was green and had little sheep all over it. The photos I took on it weren’t exactly the best as I was so young, but I enjoy looking back at them. They represent my childhood, and remind me of all the happy memories I had with my parents, family and friends.
That’s what I’ve always loved about taking photos, they say so much and represent so much just through capturing a single second in time. I probably annoy my friends with my incessant need to take photos on our days and nights out, followed by the endless tagging that happens on Facebook. I like to know I’ve taken them though, and that because of it , I will have those memories forever. There is no better feeling of nostalgia than looking back at photos and instantly being flooded with the emotions you were experiencing when the photo was taken.
Tuesday 16 February was the day of my Grandad’s funeral. He was just two weeks from celebrating his 97th birthday when he died, and it was a strange feeling to say the least. My Grandad had his own ways and I wasn’t particularly close to him, nor was anyone for that matter. He loved from a distance, and could never quite seem to express this. He had lived on his own in sunny Eastbourne for just over 18 years after my Nanny died of a brain aneurism on Christmas Day 1997.
They had three sons, who had all gone onto marry and have nine children between them, some of which had started having children of their own, with there currently being seven great grandchildren. They had many memories of holidays, birthdays, Christmas’s, family times and memories with their friends before and during their married life. They had lost parents, siblings, lived through the Second World War, with my Grandad having fought in the war and been stationed in North Africa and in Germany as the war came to an end. They had lived long lives, my Nanny’s not quite as long as my Grandad’s, but still, a lifetime of memories on both their parts had been made.
My uncle who had arranged the funeral had an order of service made for the day, and on the back of it was a photograph of my grandparents, walking side by side, almost perfectly in sync by the looks of things, along the seafront of an unknown location. It was taken in 1938, four years before they were married in 1942. My Grandad was 19 and my Nanny 20 at the time. I don’t know what it was about this photo. I’d never seen it before, and I don’t know if it’s because of the setting I found myself in, but I felt overwhelmed with sadness. I felt that this photo represented their entire lives, that l the happiness they had together and all the memories they had made, happy or sad, were portrayed in this image. It was the perfect photograph to represent two lives that were both over, but who had left a lot of love and happiness behind them through their children, grandchildren and now great grandchildren.
Looking at it made me realise that, despite the downs you sometimes find yourself in, life is about living to your full potential and making as many happy memories as possible. Live for the day, do what makes you happy and live a life without regret. I’d like to think that that’s how my Nanny and Grandad lived, and I hope to follow by their example.
I wish that I had known my Grandad better, and I wish I’d had more memories with my Nanny, but I will always treasure the memories I do have of them, as well as this photograph.