Family

One of those Weeks {+jo}

23 Feb ’12
Jo Arellanes | photographer | night photography | train photography | extended photography | Atlanta GA | Dublin GA | leahandmark.com | yourphotoby.me | cityscape | train yard (2)

 

{text and images by +jo}

A lot comes to my mind right now.

I think an 18-wheeler ran me over while I was asleep. I’m that tried right now. But that’s my own fault and I need to keep working.

The lyrics “I’m on the edge of glory and I’m hanging on a moment with you” ring in my head. I think my subconscious is playing games with me. The lyrics are self explanatory and subtle at the same time. You probably connect to them very differently than I do. Lady Gag wrote the song ‘Edge of Glory” for/about her grandfather’s death. My grandmother and grandfather have been an my mind a lot recently. They have been extremely important people in my life. Though my grandmother died when I was twelve and my grandfather died when I was sixteen… I still cry about loosing them.

It’s really hard to write about this…even now.

I only saw my grandfather a handfull of times the last four years of his life. This was after spending practically everyday with both him and my grandmother for the first twelve of my life. The absence hurt… and still does.

I remember the night my grandmother died. My cousin and I were playing cards in the room across from hers. She always listened to NPR when she was laying down. She clicked the radio over and Eve 6’s ‘Inside Out’ played in its entirety. The song went off. The radio went off. Soon people were rushing around the small house and she was taken to the hospital. I had seen her go to the hospital many times. I had stayed with her countless nights. But this time was different… so many family members were there. It didn’t feel the same. I remember holding onto my cousin as we watched our grandmother wheeled out of her room with a respirator covering her face. I don’t remember what the paramedics looked like. Just legs rushing by. I remember my cousin crying out. I held her tightly.

 

That’s the last time I saw my grandmother…
the first time I saw my grandfather cry.

The last time I saw my grandfather was a over a year later. It was hard going over to see him. The family dynamics completely changed  after my grandmother was buried. My grandparents lived for each other. They spent well over fifty years together. They were soul-mates. I grew up surrounded by that love. The last time I saw my grandfather he slipped a few mementos into my hand and told me “They are ment to be yours. For you and only you.”

It was my grandmother’s cross – the one she wore everyday. She never took it off.
There was a patch from my when my grandfather was in WWII.
A gold necklace of his that he loved – my grandmother gave it to him – but could not wear because he was allergic.

I don’t know what his last moments, months or years were like.
I don’t know what his edge of glory looked like.

I think about all these things durning this time of year. Every year. It’s unavoidable.

This year I found a photo of my grandfather taken while he was serving during WWII. It is one of three photos I’ve ever seen of him when he was young. The other two were staged portraits shots, one with my grandmother and the other after the war was over. This photo shows him goofing off with military friends. A group of them are holing up a young woman so she can kiss her soldier hanging out of a ship’s window. The only person looking at the camera is my grandfather. That mischievous grin plastered all over his face. His infectious smile that always made my grandmother light up and giggle like she was twenty years old again.

I have so many projects I’m knee deep into. This past week had extreme highs and lows. I screwed up, fumbled, accomplished, saved, learned, worked through life and still made it to the other side. I will always do this.

But this time of year I always find myself standing at the edge of glory remembering my grandparents. Missing them. Loving them. And knowing without a single shred of doubt: They are together.

 

~*~

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1 Comment

  • Reply Kathie Ball 12 Mar ’12 at 8:07 pm

    What sweet sentiments Jo, your writing as well as your photography is breathtaking…I Love You My Sweet Girl…and in my heart you will always be part mine, thanks to your parents generosity..Kathie

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