A Tribute to my Mom mom

When we were going through photos for Mom mom's memorial, something that stood out to me very plainly was how chic and well-dressed my grandmother was. I remembered her from my childhood always doing her hair, but that seemed to be a trend started in her youth. Her lipstick, gold earrings and red sweaters highlighted her vibrant and loving personality so well. Mom mom was fun. She was hilarious (without meaning to be.) She was outspoken and voiced her opinions freely. She loved toast, tea, and General Hospital (the soap opera.) She always did her hair and makeup before leaving the house. She lovingly doted on her grandchildren. She was a strong and involved mother. She cared about her community. She was well-known and loved by all.

The photos of her highlighted so well her big and beautiful personality. Her beautiful smile. Her fun polka dot dress. Her children, dressed in coats and matching hats for church. It made me stop and think about my own preservation of self and life through photos. How am I portraying myself and others in snapshots? How am I being portrayed?

Something about blogging has always felt incredibly vain to me. I have grappled (with great difficulty) the concept of documenting my life and self through photos. Who cares about the experiences I have? What I eat? Where I go? What I wear?

But in sorting through photos, in Mom mom's 100 year old house, I realized this:
Our lives have so many facets. The way we present ourselves is one. Photographs capture a feeling in an instant -- a look, a smile, the day's outfit, our homes, our families. Mom mom is forever preserved in images from her wedding day, her travels, holidays spent with family and friends. This is a blessing to her family, who will never forget what she looked like. Though small details may one day fade, we can always turn back to our photographs, to be reminded of the idiosyncrasies of this wonderful soul. How she always wore white sneakers. How she never let herself get gray hair ;) What a boss lady she was. There are wonderful images of her sitting at her desk at work -- she was a working mom and a powerful woman, VP of Human Resources of the Royal Bank of Pennsylvania in a time when women weren't always given the prestige and respect they deserved. She had been retired for more than two decades when she died, yet people from her work came to her memorial. People she hadn't worked with in over twenty years came to honor her, and tell us how amazing she was at what she did. How she connected to others. How she made people valued. How she was respected and loved so dearly.

This is what a photograph can give us. A story. A story about a life, in all it's complicated facets.

More than ever, I feel compelled to tell the story of my own life. Perhaps to preserve it for generations to come. Perhaps to arm my own grandchildren, one day, with the story of our family through images that may one day be faded and somehow, with the every changing technology of our world, out dated.

It may feel vain, but clothes and images tell the story of our lives. Mom mom looked good in almost every photo. She highlighted her best self. Her best, and beautiful self is shining through those photographs. And we will always remember her as the lady in red sweaters, with red nails, and red lipstick -- with gold hoop earrings, black pants, and probably a black turtleneck.

She loved to travel. She loved her children. She loved her grandchildren. She loved her husband. She loved her family. And she looked damn good doing it.

I love you Mom mom, and I aspire to one day be as loving, generous, hilarious, caring, put together, and beautiful as you were. I see your soul in every photograph, and I feel your love pouring through them.

Thank you for all that you have ever given to me and our family.

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