Today I went to the mailbox and noticed among the bills and fliers a personal letter from my Aunt. Outside of Christmas cards, I don’t ever get mail from my Aunt. Naturally curious, I tore into it right there, only to have my heart stop beating for a second. In my hands was a picture of me on my wedding day with my dear cousin Matthew.
Matthew, who I loved so much growing up. Matthew, who always had a smile for me. Matthew, who could make me laugh so hard, my stomach hurt. Matthew, who died tragically not even two years ago.
His ex-girlfriend had come across some photos of him and realizing they would mean more to his mother than to her, she sent them along. My Aunt, in turn, felt that I should have this one in particular. She wrote “I hope you are glad to receive it, as I am to send it to you. It is a memory of happier times.”
Looking at this picture, I am shaken. I never have been able to reconcile the horrible way he died to the person I knew. Through my tears though I am happy to have this photograph. A snapshot in time that my memory had buried. A minute of me goofing around with my cousin at my wedding reception, shoes kicked off, dancing the night away, surrounded by people I loved. This picture could have collected dust in some shoebox hundreds of miles away, never appreciated, for it only had meaning for the two people in it. Instead, someone took the time to pass it along. Now, it gets put in a frame and displayed. Memories will be sparked looking at it, stories will be told and a loved one will be remembered fondly.
The next time I come across one of those pictures that means nothing to me, I’ll remember it could to the people in it and send it along. I’m grateful someone did for me.