When Memories Fade


Today, three years ago my family lost a very important family member. She was a sister, a mother, an aunt, a grandmother, a great-grandmother, a great-great-grandmother, and a great-great-great-grandmother. To me, she is my Grandma Crane. Aside from grief, responsibilities, and getting all our family here, our next important task was preserving and sharing our memories of her. We all gathered photographs, scanned, and shared. We joined for her birthday that year in a celebration of her life, where we shared our stories. Today we continue keeping her near by sharing more photos and more stories within our family group on Facebook.

♦ ♦ ♦

The human capacity for memory is nothing short of amazing. It enables us to re-imagine people, events, and special moments at will, even going so far as allowing us to fully relive those memories through smell, sight, and emotional recall. Through memory, we can transport ourselves back in time. It is an incredible capability.

Sadly, however, it isn’t infallible.

Memory fades. A year after a major move, we may no longer remember which street came after the third one down the block or the name of our favorite teacher. Five years after the loss of a friend or a grandparent, we may no longer be able to recall the exact color of her hair or the particular shape of his nose. Ten years after our children leave the house, we may not be able to recall which teddy they loved the most or what their rooms – the very rooms we arranged with care and spent countless hours in –looked like.

Memory also distorts events, making us believe things happened other than they did. It also changes specifics, replacing a favored blue quilt with a green comforter or a friend’s green eyes with brown. Worse, according to researchers, the more we remember an event, person, or place, the more we alter the original memory.

It is here, at the intersection of memory and reality, that photography can help us.

Photography fights against loss. A photograph captures a particular truth at a specific time and place. As such, it acts as a time capsule, forever preserving the reality of a loved one, a precious moment, or a place dear to our hearts. It also serves as a mnemonic marker, giving us the precise details we need to recreate in our brains and our hearts the full reality of the things and people we love. With a photo in hand or on our computers, we’re never too far from the past.

Ready to preserve your memories? Read our Services page to learn more about our packages, sessions, and specials, or contact Past Present Forever today for a complimentary consultation.