Nostalgia, and photos that become our family history

by Jul 19, 2017Grief, loss and motherless mothering, Personal, Stories of my life7 comments

My childhood was entirely ‘analogue’. Over the the last couple of weeks I’ve been scanning old family photos that I’ve inherited from my Grandma so that I can share them with my brother back in the UK.

We live in a digital world now. Sharing has got a whole lot easier. I love that. But I also don’t.

Are we connected on Facebook and Instagram? You may have noticed I’ve been taking a little online hiatus. Reflecting over my shared photos of late, I see only a half-truth. Where is the messy?

Truth is, I’m less inspired to take photos when I’m exhausted or hit with the blues, let alone share them.

This is my messy.

** Trigger Warning: I write about mothers, loss and grief **

What you haven’t seen is my exhaustion from sleepless nights, caring for my young family, running a business, moving house, renovation work, life on call as a birth professional.. and more poignant of late, mothering without a mother. Did I really write that? I did. *breathe* That’s a big one.

The 20th anniversary of my Mum’s death has been at the forefront of my mind. Not so much what happened, but rather all my memories and the things I feel I’m missing out on as the mother of her grandchildren. I miss her every day; her laughter, her smile, her wisdom, the mother-daughter relationship we might have had, what she would have been like as a grandmother.

I find myself very nostalgic. A recent visit to stay with my brother’s family had me poring over our family photo albums. Living in a different country and with infrequent visits ‘home’ meant I hadn’t seen them in years.

Looking through album after album, photo by photo, it was like I was searching for answers to unasked questions.

Now as a mother myself, it is surreal to see photos of my Mum and Dad as parents of young children. They were who we are right now. I see our family photos in a totally different light to before. It’s also strange to see photos of my Mum when she was the same age that I am now. Soon she would be gone, from one minute to the next, gone. Incomprehensible.

It’s astonishing that 20 years have gone by.

I still believe, more than ever, that there is no bond stronger than that of a mother and child.

I’m immensely grateful to have so many family photos to look back on. I continue to document our days, our home as it changes over the years, time spent with family – and friends who become like family, holidays and the places we love to frequent. I do this so that my children, and their children, will have their own family history to look back on and remember. I do this for my clients too. I will resume sharing online soon. Promise.

In the meantime, here’s a few of the photos I’ve been scanning this week:

With much love,
Natalie xx

7 Comments

  1. Emily Hodge

    Natalie this is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing these stunning memories – images and words. It must have taken a lot to share this and I’m sure it will help so many people in a similar situation. Sending you lots of love to your family as the anniversary approaches too xx

    Reply
    • Debra Parry

      Thank you so much for allowing us into your precious memories, so beautifully written and with wonderful photos shared. My childhood was also analogue, the earlier years in black and white, and I still have so many photos to scan and share with my brother and sister. With photos mainly digital now it’s so important to back them up – they’re easily lost at the touch of a wrong button or a crashing device (as, sadly, I know only too well!). We take photos wherever we go. We’re creating memories in other ways too, such as buying a programme for every theatre show we attend and, much more recently where available, buying a fridge magnet of anywhere we visit so there’s a colourful visual record of where we’ve been – together or individually – brightening up the kitchen and always visible while we cook. Much love to you and your family. Xxx

      Reply
      • Natalie Carstens

        Thank you for your lovely words, Debra. I love that you collect theatre programmes and magnets – I do too! I have a big collection of keyrings from different cities as well, all held together on a wire coathanger – it’s at my Dad’s house and all his grandchildren love to look at them :-) Even with the ease of digital, printed memories are SO important, and isn’t it lovely to sit in a comfy chair and ponder over them, remember all those special moments and the special people in your life, true treasures xx

        Reply
  2. Severina

    Hi Nathalie, what beautiful words, so well said. I empathize easily with you… and I send you a hug.
    Severina

    Reply
    • Natalie Carstens

      Dear Severina, your hug is gratefully received and returned! It’s lovely to hear from you, thank you for your message xx

      Reply
  3. Bettina

    Dear Natalie, yes … I feel the same when I look at our family photos, super8films and videos… it brings back emotions, special moments or just the normal moments of life from the past..

    To take photos now is giving our children and grandchildren the same possibility when they are grown up and when we, hopefully very late”, might have gone to the other side.

    Your post is absolutely right. Hugs and kisses

    Reply

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