When an Emotional Warning is Handy.

My Dad popped round to look after Jamie for me last week and with him he brought round a couple of photographs. He’d been sorting out his garage and all of the “stuff” they collected from my Nan and Grandads house when my Nan passed away in 2007.
I had been having a rather tearful day, (Chris said that the wind changing would upset me, and oh how I missed that wind…) thanks to my hormones being all over the place, and I didn’t stop to think what he could be handing me or how it would effect me. We don’t do we? Why would we? Even I was shocked at my reaction to be honest.
He handed me this photograph:

Photograph of Grandad in his Garden next to his Greenhouse in 1983

Photograph of Grandad in his Garden next to his Greenhouse in 1983

I burst into tears the moment I saw it. Even writing this brings back that wave of emotion I felt when I held the handmade frame in my hands and I find myself with tears in my eyes now! I hugged the photograph to my chest and cried.
This photograph is the first I have seen, since he passed away 20 years ago, where he actually looks like the Grandad I remember and loved SO SO SO SO SO SO SO much growing up. This was taken in 1983; I was 9. It shot me back in time for a moment. That greenhouse always meant so much to me, when he was alive and more so once he had died. I would stand in there and soak up the smell and to me he was still with us. It’s amazing really how something made of glass and wood can hold so much of a person. To me it kept him here with me. I would go and visit my Nan (who was always in his shadow), but I’d go and spend time with Grandad in his greenhouse every time. It was special to me. Even if it was empty.
I think that was the hardest thing for me when my Nan finally passed away 14 years after his death. Their home was a council house and would need to go to someone else. The greenhouse and all of his sheds at the back of the garden (including his workshop where he would make amazing creations out of wood), would all be pulled down. The greenhouse was falling apart and wasn’t safe. To me – it meant finally having to say goodbye to my Grandad all over again and this time for real.

So for me I guess this photograph just shot me back there – in that moment of awe and love for a man I looked up to. A man who believed in me. A man who made me feel like the brightest star in the room. He made me feel like I could do absolutely anything and BE anyone. He made me believe (even at that young age) that I was talented, that all I had to do was practice, practice, practice and I would be an artist far greater than he. He made me feel like I had magic!

I did a live show a few weeks ago (probably months now, time seems to go so quickly and I’ve been too ill/distracted to notice) and I talked about working on a page dedicated to my Grandad, because it was 20 years since he passed away. I have a feeling that this might take a lot longer than I thought, and I’m not sure I want to record it because I think (going by the tears that are now streaming down my cheeks) it’s going to be emotional. So I might have to put that one on hold until I feel the urge to do it -and photographs may be better than film (sniffing and blubbering all over it on camera isn’t my idea of fun and I’m sure no one else will enjoy that either…:D).

My Dad also handed me this photograph:

This is (from the left to right) my Nan (Emily Shave), my Grandad (Albert Shave) and his I think sister in Law? Not sure (Doreen is her name anyway). This is taken in Kim Amis’ Studio (who used to call them Auntie and Uncle and is the daughter of Doreen so she is related to me somehow but I’m never entirely sure how). She teaches at the City and Guilds of London Art School. (I always wanted to be like her.. :D) http://www.cityandguildsartschool.ac.uk/staff/sculpture_staff/kim_amis

I love this photograph. The illustration I did of my Grandad for my story “Not a Fairytale” was drawn from memory. I wanted to draw the Grandad I remembered; sitting there as he showed me all of the wonderful “tricks” of our magic. When I saw this photograph I just felt so proud. He is far older, a tiny version of the man he once was, but you can see he is the man I drew from memory, nearly 20 years since his death.


So, all in all I thought that maybe an emotional trigger warning should come with people who visit holding photographs… BUT I do love to get that surge of emotion, to FEEL everything he was to me all over again. And I hope that one day someone will feel the same about me.


4 thoughts on “When an Emotional Warning is Handy.

  1. This little story must have brought a tear to every ones eyes it must ring a bell with most of us who has lost someone very dear,thanks for this lovely thing to remember, we will all be getting our photo’s out and having a happy little boo. Dee.x

    • I hope so Dee. I must admit when my Dad gave it to me and I cried, “is this for me to keep”, he said, “not if it’s going to upset you”. But I like feeling those tears, remembering… Sometimes it’s just what we need. x

  2. Photographs set those memories into our hearts and minds. I remember that each time there was a hurricane coming through my area, I’d gather my kids, and the photo books in doubled plastic bags. They are treasures – and although sometimes it’s hard to look at them, ultimately, the deeper feeling is the love we felt.

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