Taking a snapshot in time

melancholy by annaletoileDuring the holidays, two former co-workers died. These were people I worked with 18 years ago. One was the owner of the company. He was my exact age. The other, one of the head designers, was a few years younger. The company had 75 employees, so having two deaths so close together seems unusual.

After I heard the news, I started reviewing “snapshots” I had in my head. These were snapshots from when I worked with them.

I always went into work early. I like to start slowly, drink coffee and have a few laughs before I get into the meat of the day. The owner was always there. He was an early riser with tons of energy. There were usually four of us “early birds” and we had fun before the masses came in. I have some really funny snapshots from those early morning chats.

Eventually I left the job and moved back into the corporate world. We weren’t friends in the truest sense of the word. We didn’t keep in touch, not even with Christmas cards. I would see them at restaurants but not often. In my head they hadn’t changed at all – no gray hair and no extra pounds! I almost didn’t recognize the obituary pictures.

I was truly saddened by their deaths. Maybe facing my own mortality is a part of it or a reminder that time passes too quickly. I remembered another time, another day. I kept thinking about my life back then – all the friends I met (some I still see), the lessons I learned and how it changed me. Somehow it seems so long ago – like it happened to a different person. Will life be different next year at this time? Will some people be gone? Will it be better or worse?

Yesterday we had a family get-together. My sensitivity to death caused me to look around and take mental snapshots of what I saw — snapshots that will entertain me in years to come. I saw kids growing up and contemporaries aging gracefully. I saw family “hoot and holler” and laugh. Everyone was talking at the same time so each one had to talk louder to get heard. There were new “significant others” there who were overwhelmed with it all wondering what they got themselves into. It is a great series of snapshots.

Memories somehow seem more special when you look at them in the rearview mirror than when they actually happen. I don’t know why. Is it because it’s gone and can’t be replicated? Or….maybe we just don’t take the time to appreciate what happens to us in the moment.


Photo credit: anna.letoile courtesy of Flickr

20 thoughts on “Taking a snapshot in time

  1. I really appreciated your description of the family get-together and how you took in every moment while it was happening. What a great example of living in the moment. The passing away of others does seem to put everything into perspective, and cherish each day that much more.


  2. Funny how Death has a way of reminding us that it’s always just around the corner, by occasionally poking It’s head round for a bit. I’m sorry about your losses.


  3. My husband lost two good friends within a couple of weeks of each other this past year and it really knocked him for a loop. Then my dad had a rough year, and I think I was doing some of the same thing, taking internal snapshots to backfill my memories, too, this Christmas. I was very keenly aware of the precise age of my granddaughters, and how precious they are at this young age, and then all the way to my parents in their 80s, looking a little frail. But we were all together. I’m really sorry to hear about your two coworker friends, but I think it’s nice you’ve honored them here.


    • My granddaughters are 7 (twins). Since they live on the other side of the country I don’t see them often. When I do, I can’t believe how they’ve grown. They are short people now. In my head they are still babies! How did that happen?


  4. Snapshots is the perfect description of those memories. Your last line is like fireworks – events are brief and bright we should all savor them. Glad you had that gathering ( got a chuckle over the significant others’ being overwhelmed!)


  5. I’m sorry for you losses. The idea of mental snapshots is perfect. I do that, too– but I’ve never had a name for the process. Your post strikes me as a call to arms, reminding me to take more snapshots of those who I love. Beautifully written, kate.


    • Thanks. I wish I would have taken my camera for real pictures. We have a few people who don’t want their picture taken. The sad part is that in future years there will no pictures to look back on. I only have 1 picture of each of my grandmothers and none of my grandfathers, all long gone.


      • Good point. I have few photos of my older relatives, too. And while some of the photos are rather unique, only a couple are of the snapshot-in-time variety. People didn’t think to take casual, every day photos back then. Too expensive, I suppose.


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