Pictures of You

I’ve been looking so long, at these pictures of you

That I almost believe they are real

The Cure, Pictures of You

Since my little brother died suddenly, I’ve been looking through my photos. I pulled a pile of photos of John out of albums, to use at his funeral, and I haven’t got around to putting them back in.

The envelope, filled with photos, is in a pile, with the few other things of his, or related to him, that I took when we cleaned out his personal belongings.  An incident report he wrote at his work a few years ago, that I thought showed what a fair-minded, compassionate person he was. A letter  I wrote to him, on behalf of my daughter, when she was a baby. His last payslip, which was redirected to my address a week or so after he died, causing me a fresh burst of pain when I opened it and, in a moment of bewilderment, registered that there was a shift listed on the day after he died. That was because he was on annual leave, starting on that day. A copy of his annual leave form, signed on 24 August, is also in the pile.

The day he cheerfully signed that form, my friend Dori died. When his leave began, 2 and a half weeks later, he had died.

But I’ve been over this line of thought a million times. Today I’m talking about pictures.

I wish I had more photos of him. How common that wish must be, when someone dies! Nevertheless, I know that he spent lots of time with me, and with my daughter, and I’m so glad…that knowledge is more important than having pictures to prove it or remind me.

In that first week or so after his death I couldn’t look at pictures of him without bursting into tears. Now that the shock is wearing off, and acceptance – which makes me sad in a whole different way – is settling in, I can look, but I just have to avoid looking at them at the wrong time. For example it was silly to look through photos  right before leaving for work one morning, a few weeks ago. Naturally, I cried all the way to work. And it is not always conducive to efficient use of my time, to have saved photos of us together as  the desktop image on my laptop. Some days, depending how low I am already feeling, I open my laptop to do some work, and on seeing the screen saver, I end up being very unproductive for the next little while.

Sometimes it’s almost as if I need to make myself feel totally devastated all over again.

Photos of John are now amongst my dearest possessions. I have lots, but I am choosing to post some bad, blurry photos, because I like to retain my privacy as much as possible. Those who know who I am, and who John is, will recognise enough.

These photos were taken about 2 years ago, at about 1am in the morning, in an inner suburb of Melbourne. Myself and two brothers had been out to see a band. We’d all enjoyed a few drinks and were feeling very merry, and one of my brothers pulled out his trusty camera(!) and blurrily documented our walk home.

Those were the days, my friend.

It’s true – we thought they’d never end.

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