One of the best things about modern technology is the ability to track your entire life via photography on your camera phone. Take a tour through your iPhone’s camera roll and see everything you’ve done in the last several months, or more depending on how many pictures you take.
It was and continues to be terribly sad to see our old life and our new life displayed in vibrant color on my phone. I can scroll up 5 swipes (they have to be hard swipes) and see our old world, the family of four. Pictures that were taken less than 24 hours before my son died. The last picture of my son before he fell. My son in the hospital. My son in the PICU. And then the beginning of the new life, with him very obviously missing. It’s awful to have no new pictures of him.
It was more awful before I learned how to get creative. I have dozens of videos of my son on my phone. Every picture and video on my phone is meticulously watched and analyzed over and over again. File that in the “It’s all I’ve got” category. My analysis of the videos includes pausing at various moments to catch micro-expressions that I would never have seen otherwise. Beautiful windows into his little self that would have no doubt gone completely unnoticed forever. I started pausing and then clicking a screen shot, giving me a brand new treasure trove of new pictures. Pathetic, you say? You don’t even know how pathetic things can get over here. My micro-expression project is called a viable solution.
On one of my micro-expression journeys I came across a really great new photo of him in a baby bathtub. He has this look on his face that seems to be full of wisdom. It’s impressive to be able to pull that kind of look off when you’re sitting in a plastic bathtub with your hair soaped up and slicked into a mohawk that has lazily fallen to one side. It has become a kind of inspiration for me when I’m at my lowest. It’s like he’s looking at me and saying, “Yep, this sucks, but you have to do it and you’re going to keep doing it because I know you can.” I know the thought that must have been going through his mind was “Mama!” but this expression has given me encouragement to move forward during those times when I feel myself going down the toilet bowl of grief.
I’ll include it here. I think he’d be OK with that.
“Good luck, Captain. We’re all counting on you.”