If theres one thing I need to start doing more in my life, it’s taking more photos.
I know, thats strange for a blogger to say but its true; I’m great at taking photos for my blog, but I hardly ever take photos of my day to day life. If I go out for a meal with Chris or off on a road trip with a friend, I tend to just live in the moment and enjoy myself. It’s only after than I think that perhaps I should have taken some photos of the day (not just to post on social media to prove that I actually do have a social life!) but to look back on fondly when I’m feeling down and depressed.
Kind of like a happy jar on my phone.
But recently I’ve come to realise there’s another, more important reason to take photos; because eventually the people in them won’t be with us any more.
As some of you may know, my nan was recently diagnosed with Lew Body Dementia and coming to terms with this hasn’t been easy for me. Even just writing about it is difficult (I’ve re-written this sentence 8 times already) and I still don’t think I’ve fully accepted what its going to mean for our families future.
Some days she’s her old self again: funny, sarcastic and very quick witted. Other days she keeps telling us she wants to go home even when she is home (with her being unable to walk anymore, we had to have a special bed added to the living room so she can sleep downstairs and I think thats what’s throwing her) and will get very aggressive and argumentative with everyone.
Last week she was refusing to go to the toilet because she thought it was still outside (like when she was younger) and nothing any of us could say could convince her otherwise. I think the carers eventually managed to “trick” her onto the commode but it was really upsetting to see and I had to go home before she saw me crying and got even more upset and confused.
And the thing is, it’s only going to get worse.
Eventually she might not ever know who I am. Thats something I really can’t think about at the moment without getting very upset and I don’t think bursting into tears on a crowded train is a good look; even if it is 9:30am on a Monday morning.
But if there’s one thing I’ve learnt from whats happened, it’s to make memories with the ones I love while I can and to take as many photos as possible too. I love showing nan photos of the day trips we went on when I was little, it brings a sparkle to her eyes and you can see she does actually remember them. It also helps me remember what she was like before the Dementia started, which in all honesty, I’m finding harder and harder to do recently.
The only problem with a digital photo collection is that its hard to find the photos you want, when you want them.
If you’re anything like me your camera roll will mostly be a collection of random screenshots (which you’ve absolutely no idea why you took) and photos of outfits or tattoos you like that you’ve saved from Pinterest. Sifting through all of these to get to a photo you took two years ago isn’t going to be easy!
I remember going on holiday as a kid and taking one of the wind up Kodak cameras with me, snapping photos of absolutely everything I saw and then having to wait impatiently while my auntie took them to the post office to be printed out. Then getting them back, only to find that half of them were blurry or you’d seriously misjudged the shot and somehow only half a person was in the photo…
Luckily it’s a little bit easier these days!
I collaborated with Printiki last month to get some of my favourite pictures printed off and it was so much easier. You simply pick which style you want, upload the photos you want to be printed and then reposition them so you get everything you want in the frame (no more pictures of your grandad with only half his arm in the shot!). Then all you have to do is sit back and wait for them to be delivered to you.
That bit still hasn’t changed and I’m still just as impatient as I was 20 years ago.
I went for a retro polaroid look but there are lots of different ones you can choose from and you can ever add text if you want to. Not really necessary for me, unless its to shout I PASSED! on the photo of me passing my driving test, which I still can’t believe some days. But it could be a great feature if you’re giving the photos as a gift and want to make them more personal.
I’m thinking of making a few of their photo books next and theming them around certain events. One full of baby photos. Another of my favourite photos with my parents. Mine and Chris’s first year together… I could easily fill a shelf with them!
I’ve kept the photos next to my bed so that whenever I’m feeling down or like I’ll never achieve anything, I can look through them and see all the things I’ve achieved. Passing my driving test, going to uni, day trips with friends. I can also use them to remember some of the best events in my life like finally going to see Status Quo with my parents and jumping around like idiots when they played Rockin’ All Over The World.
That one never fails to make me laugh.
So my goal for this year is to take as many photos as I can and get them printed out; either singularly or as part of a photo book. I’m also going to take them round and show my nan, so she can see what I’ve been doing and the places I’ve been going, rather than just listening to me talk about them. I read somewhere that showing people picture of past and current events can help, as its something they can physically see and it can trigger their memories.
Maybe it will help her, maybe it won’t, but at the end of the day; theres no harm in trying.
A twenty-four-year-old autistic writer and designer from Sheffield. Tattoo obsessed, animal lover, self confessed bookworm and eclectic witch.