Help From Above: Mom led me to my favorite photo
It’s late at night (way past my usual bedtime), but I’m having trouble turning off my computer and going to sleep, so I thought I’d write to you.
A funny thing happened this afternoon. I was looking for photos of my mom to use in my book proposal, and I realized I couldn’t find my favorite photo (the one you see here).
Remember that this photo was taken in the ‘90s, way before the invention of digital cameras, so the only keepsake I have of it is the actual photograph – and maaaybe the negatives somewhere in a shoebox, but who knows?
Perhaps I should explain why I love this photo. It was taken at my cousin Deena’s Bat Mitzvah in Los Angeles. I was 17 and senior year had just begun, plus I was in California with my 4 closest girl cousins. What could be better? More importantly, the event is the last memory I have of my mom being 100% healthy and happy. The party was in the fall, and my mom was diagnosed that January.
I know it’s stupid, but in the last 6 years since she died, I’ve made this “the wandering photo.” Sometimes it appears crammed between two CDs in my bookcase. Sometimes it’s used as a bookmark. Sometimes it’s propped up against a different framed photo. Sometimes it’s tacked to my bulletin board. I just really like to “happen upon it,” since it always makes me smile.
Well, today when I was actually looking for it (and not just “happening upon it”), it was gone. I searched everywhere. All the places I mentioned above, plus my photo shoebox, my nightstand, my sock drawer – everywhere I could think of. I cursed myself for being so disorganized and swore if I found it I’d change my irresponsible habits. How could I treat photos of my mom so carelessly? These are all I have left.
Frustrated and depressed, I slumped against the side of my bed and took some deep breaths. Calm down, I told myself. Think clearly and the hiding spot will come to you.
Suddenly, as if a hand were guiding me, I squinted more closely at the bookshelf right in front of me. Sure enough, tucked under a few new novels was my photograph. I thought I might start crying, but as soon as I saw the photo, it made me smile – even more, because I knew my mom had led me to it.