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Remembering Amid the Everyday

making sense of life & death Aug 16, 2017

Sitting in the middle of my fridge, amidst activity registration forms, schedules and a smattering of photos, is a new copy of an old photo. The photo is of my Dad’s dad’s family: my great grandparents and their eleven children, “la famiglia Pante” from the town of Lamon, in province of Belluno, in the Veneto region of Italy.

A much older copy of this same photo also hangs in a place of honour on a living room wall in my childhood home. As a girl I used to know the names of each person in the photo which included my Dad’s dad — my Nonno — whom I never met.

I recall sitting on my Dad’s lap holding the picture in my hands and him pointing to each person in turn and telling me their name, what they got up to in life and often some small story about either their relationship with my Dad or to my Nonno. “Zio Ferruccio, he was a prince of a guy … insert story … Zia Angelica, she adored your Nonno … insert story.” It was, and still is, important to my eighty-plus-year-old dad that we know something of the people who came before us. He has so many stories to tell, and that he wants remembered. Stories I want remembered.   

Remembering can enliven the present and enlighten the future.

I feel sad and embarrassed to admit that not one photo of grandparents, great grandparents or great-great grandparents, graces the walls of my family home. And I feel heartsick and overwhelmed by the fact that we have not taken action to “capture” my Dad’s stories.

I want to change my remembering practices. As a start, I’m committing to creating a place of honour for family photos before the year is out.

What about you?

How does remembering the people who have come before you, impact your life?

What are your remembering practices?