The movie We Bought a Zoo is based on the true story of a man, with his two young children, who decides to buy — and live at — a zoo some time after his wife passes away. In this movie, there is a couple of scenes in which he begins to look at photographs of his deceased wife, but cannot……until the last time when he is finally able to scroll through each photograph, appreciating the memory that pops up with each one.
I used to wonder why he couldn’t look at the photographs. I mean, why wouldn’t he want to remember all the good times with her as she made her mark on their little family.
I get it.
As I meander my way through my daily life, I know that Darren is gone. I know that I will never see him walk through my door again. My head knows it, but my heart seems to not.
A couple of years ago, I made some posts about my older son.
Whatever it was, I was highlighting my oldest son.
I started to do the same with Darren. However, he wasn’t able to go to his prom that year so I didn’t get to post about it. And now, this year, he will not be going to prom. He will not be graduating at the end of the school year. He will not be doing anything else ever for me to highlight. So, this post was going to be sort of like a yearbook of his life, complete with pictures and stories of him.
However, I came home from visiting his grave, pulled out my photo books to start going through photos I wanted to use……
As I said, now I get it!
I couldn’t even open the cover of the first book. I couldn’t even pull the book out of the box where they are currently stored.
I couldn’t look at the pages because…..
I am Not. Ready. for. the. Onslaught. of. Memories. that will flood my mind with each picture.
I sat there, looking at those closed albums that are tucked safely in the box and cried.
I cried for him.
I cried for my family.
I cried for my children
I cried for myself.
I. Just. Cried.
It’s not just the picture books because yes, I have all of those memories tucked safely away into the internal baby books, photo albums, children’s accomplishments and failures, baby years, school years, teen years vault inside the mommy part of my brain.
But they are there.
I don’t pull Darren’s out right now.
I can’t yet handle the emotions that will surely come. I can’t handle going through each photo to see so much of him, knowing he will never be here with me again.
My heart knows I can’t handle it.
My head knows I can’t handle.
I know I can’t handle it.
Some day, when I pull out those photo albums I will carefully thumb through each one, I will relish every memory of him. I will laugh and I’m certain I will even cry. I will graciously smooth every crease so the photo lies flat and I will embrace every snapshot of him, welcoming each tear that falls because ….well what else can I do? Stay angry? Stay sad and in this place I’m in now?
Today. Is. Not. That. Day.
So, I mindlessly put the box back away again.
Today is the day I will continue my life in fear of letting those raw emotions envelope me.
Because, it’s the only place I can handle right now.
Now, I am super thankful I have been a photo hoarder since I gave birth to my first child. I am thankful that I have all these pictures so when that day comes when I can handle facing my memories of him while knowing I will never get another memory with/of him, I can open those photo books.