Mindylynns Kitchen

June 9, 2023


Filed under: — Mindy M. @ 3:22 pm

My grams passed away last year. Really, I lost her a couple years ago to dementia. A horrible illness where the brain shrinks, and who you are slowly disappears. In the beginning we didn’t know it was happening. She slowly got quiet, I think she was afraid to let anyone know what was happening to her.

My whole life, grams hated having her picture taken. I have a hard time with social situations, and with recall, particualarly names and faces. My camera and photos helped me with a lot with those issues. One day when grams was with her sisters, she tried to stop me from taking a picture. I remeber finally getting the nerve to explain how I felt about pictures. I explained that I don’t mind holding these pictures in stasis if she didn’t want to see them, but that one day we’d need these pictures to remember her by and that I loved her and would cherish those memories. From that day on, she smiled for me and allowed me to take photos to my heart’s content.

When I visited grams I would make an effort to digitize more, and more of her collection of photos. Whatever she could find during a visit, I would digitize. I would offer to scan and digitize everyone’s collection, my great aunts, cousins, grandparents….even 3rd cousins (or even further removed). Unfortunately nobody but grams would allow me access to their photos. Sadly, the California wild fires destoryed another part of our families media collections, a previous fire destroyed my Great grandmother’s collection of photos. I was determined to digitize more and more of our family’s history. I made very little headway, as access and time were difficult.

During the progression of my gram’s illness, drama and legal issues ripped my family apart. I lost my hard drive and all contact with my extended family. It was tempting to give up. But, I bought a new camera, a new a hard drive and a year later miraculously found my hard drive. I immediately backed it up, and decided to move forward with what I had. My aunt blessed me with a lot of gram’s photo albums, but sadly all of the negatives had been discarded.

Rather than just struggle in silence, learning on my own I decided to start documenting my progressing and process about creating a digital family record.

Gram’s and her sisters created a tight knit family unit, that is unraveling with their passing. While I can’t recreate it, I can preserve as many memories for my children.

Shirley Arlene Greenwade, you were a blessing to my life, a wonderful grandmother, mentor and example. I love you and miss you.

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