Tag Archive | memories

#BeReal – I wish I hadn’t Done That


Hiding behind the lens

careful not to be seen

photographic memories

of everyone but me


It’s a terrible thing I’ve done

I can clearly see that now.

I didn’t think it mattered.

I didn’t think I was

hurting anyone.

I didn’t stop to think,

not in the moment,

not in all those


but now . . .

now I see

what I have done.


I removed myself

from memories

and nothing

can take their place.

Every picture

I cropped myself out of,

every photograph I erased,

where I should be,

there’s only empty space.




My smile wasn’t right,

one eye looked a little closed,

it was a terrible angle,

I looked awful in those clothes.


None of it even mattered.

They didn’t care

what I was wearing,

they didn’t care

if my hair was done,

they were busy

making memories,

busy having fun.

I see their smiles

in the pictures.


all of them

but one.


When memories

are all that is

left of me,

I hope they

can close their eyes

and see my face.

I hope they will

forgive me

for all the


I erased.


I’ve spent most of my life dodging cameras, bowing out of group photos, begging people to get rid of pictures I deemed unworthy to be seen, and now . . . I wish I hadn’t.

I didn’t think it mattered until one afternoon when my son was looking through some old pictures and reliving a few fond memories, he’d come across photos of a fantastically fun day we’d had and started talking about his recollections of the day, he spoke as though he were telling me all about something I’d missed.

“I know, I was there!” He looked shocked. “You were?”

It hit me. Hit me hard. I wasn’t in any of the pictures. He remembered the day because the photos reminded him, but I wasn’t in any of those photos, that part of the memory wasn’t recalled by the evidence of smiling faces in front of him. I felt shattered and guilty. I’d stolen bits and pieces of my son’s precious past by hiding from the camera.

I wish I hadn’t done that.

Not too long after that, I came across a box filled with pictures and mementos of my beautiful cousin who traveled to her place in Heaven much too soon. I sifted through the letters and postcards and pictures. Photographs of her smiling face playing with my boys, splashing in the ocean, sitting by a campfire . . . I didn’t realize I was crying until a tear splashed down next to a photo of her hugging my oldest son.

I wasn’t crying because she was gone, I was crying because she’d been here . . . with me. We’d played and laughed and hugged and had fun, but I haven’t any pictures to look back on that reflect that image of us together. I’d ducked out of every single frame.

I wish I hadn’t done that.

I met my husband shortly before my 16th birthday, we’ve made so many beautiful memories since then, but looking back through the albums of our youth, I’m absent. I cut myself out of those precious, paper pieces I’ve saved. There isn’t a single surviving picture of us from those teenage years together.

I wish I hadn’t done that.

I’ve cropped and cut and deleted myself from my own photographic history and there is nothing I can do to remedy that now, I really, truly wish I hadn’t done that.

I’m trying to make amends now. I’m trying to accept the reflection of me I see. I don’t want to be absent when my children look through our family photos someday. I want them to have pictures of me. I want them to have pictures of us. I don’t want them to wonder if I was there. I don’t want them to look back on our memories knowing I was too insecure to capture them on film.

I don’t want them to say, “I wish she hadn’t done that.”


Memories on a flash drive – That last photo – pure gold!

One of my favorite things in life is coming across memories I’d almost forgotten were safely tucked away somewhere inside of me. This one found its way back to me while I was looking for a different memory on an old flash drive, the little file folder on the screen was practically begging to be clicked, and when I obliged the little voice compelling me to take a peek inside, I was instantly filled with the joys of a long ago day and the memories rushed in like a rushing wave, eager to meet the shore.

I no longer recall the occasion, but the day is etched into my heart. The kids explored and played and rode dirt bikes with their dad while I sat with my notebook and favorite pen, recording whatever thoughts I happened to think as I watched the day unfold.

The set of pictures I found in that file made me smile, they made me laugh – the little man captured in photographic forever is now a man, mostly. He’ll be eighteen this month. The last of my babies to step into adulthood. I still see the little boy in these pictures when I look at him sometimes, I have a feeling if he were to stand atop that same hill now, he would no doubt smile that same little smile and take the leap . . .


He stood there at the top of the hill yelling “Mommy! Watch, I’m gonna jump over that cable.” I told him I didn’t think it was a good idea but he was already running. I figured I’d snap a few photos . . . I got a pretty good shot if him at the start of his run.


He was cruising down that hill, you could see that he was going faster than he wanted to, once that momentum starts, it only picks up speed. His little legs were moving so fast.


Gravity got the best of him and he ended his stunt with a face full of dust. He took it like a man though and then he marched right back up there and gave it another shot . . . boys.


He did it. He jumped the cable just like he said he would ~ Stinker.

I can’t help but giggle just a little every time I look at these pictures :o)

And then they grew up –

Seems like only yesterday sometimes

Seems like only yesterday sometimes

I just signed what will likely be the last permission I will ever need to sign . . . it’s a bittersweet feeling. My babies no longer need my parental permission to attend functions, go on field trips, or participate in activities. Not legally. My youngest will be eighteen near the end of this month. Where did the time go? How did it go by so quickly?

I am so proud, more than proud of the young adults they have grown to be, but sometimes, every now and again, I wish they were my babies, just for a little while . . . I long to hold them close and feel them nestle their little heads against my shoulder and just listen to the peaceful sound of each little breath they take.

I wish I had known just how fleeting time really would be. I wish I had lingered a little longer in more of those moments I didn’t realize were passing us by so quickly. I know I cherished them and those memories carry my heart when I reminisce about when I was a mommy, when my children depended on me for everything; when they needed me more than they do now.

Memories sometimes fall from my eyes when I look back on what seemed like only yesterday and remember their little smiles and the sound of their laughter – and it fills my heart.

I have been so blessed. So, so blessed. They will always be my babies.

Crystal R. Cook

Gather them.


Today became yesterday
before I knew it had passed,
I pray my sweet memories
of each moment will last.
When tomorrow arrives
I will cherish the day,
for I know that it too
will pass quickly away.
In the midst of a moment
precious memories are made,
we wrap them in love,
in hopes they won’t fade.
We gather them up,
tuck them safely away,
inside of our hearts
to look back on someday.

Crystal R. Cook

I remember writing this years ago, I recall just how I felt in the moment. I’d had a moment of heartbreaking realization, time is fleeting. I could not believe how fast my children had grown. They were still babies really, some days it feels like it was only yesterday.

Time really is fleeting.

No Escape


Wandering and wondering,
meandering aimlessly,
stumbling and tumbling,
hopelessly lost in a
labyrinth of thought.
Whispering illusions
of confusion, delusion,
welcome you in
with delight.
Teasing and taunting
with fragments of dream,
lies filled with truths
wrapped in remnants
of skin ripped from reality.
Every step forward
leads only behind.
There is no escape
from a shattered mind.

Crystal R. Cook

The details of a memory.

imageSometimes a memory, long since forgotten, will choose to emerge and when it presents itself you have to decide what to do with that memory. I suppose you can try to bury it deep inside, try to send it back to where it came from. You can cling to it and incorporate it into your life. You can let it control you or you can attempt to make peace with it.

I have tried to bury many memories but there are always more waiting just below the surface for their chance to escape. I’ve clung to many a memory and I’ve tried to rid myself of many more. I’ve found the worst of them simply need to be remembered. They need to be acknowledged and only then will they blend into the fabric of your life and become a part of that which makes you whole.

Some are too painful to find complete peace with. I’ve tried. In my quest for closure I realized a memory itself is sometimes more than what it appears to be. We only focus on a small part of it, the part that hurts or brings us fear, but every memory has something that came before and something that came after. Every memory has little pieces buried within it that can change your perception of it.

The memory will always be, we cannot change what has already come to pass, but acceptance can be found if you take the remembrance apart like a puzzle and examine each little piece as if it were a memory of its own. Sometimes you’ll be surprised at what you find.

An old memory recently came to call, a quite unwelcome visitor. Instead of going through the tiring and pointless process of trying to push it back into the depths of me, I decided to find a place within me where it could finally be laid to rest. I wasn’t sure how I was going to get past the pain, but I examined it and began to find little details I hadn’t noticed before. Those details led me to an unexpected place.

I found a blessing in that awful memory. I realized my life was changed by that moment in time in more ways than I’d ever known. It was the details I sought out that derailed the way it usually unfurled itself. My past experiences have shaped me into the person I am today. I’ve always known that. What I didn’t know was just how much the hidden pieces of them had changed me and altered the course I would take in life.

When I was a little girl we had the most beautiful couch. It was velvety to the touch and colored like silken sands glistening in the sun on a far away island beach. It’s cushions where soft and welcoming. I loved that couch. I loved everything about it, especially the space in the corner where it met the wall; it was like a secret entrance. It was big enough for me and my baby sister to crawl into and find comfort and safety when the bad things happened.

I kept a few of my books hidden there, my favorites. Sometimes I would read them and pretend I was part of the stories. I would sail away on a magical boat or soar through the sky until I found a rainbow to land on. I would take my little sister on whispered adventures through mystical forests of fantasy. I traveled many miles and met many people during my journeys. Sometimes though, I would press my books tightly to my ears so I couldn’t hear the violent storm my mother was caught up in. Sometimes my tears stained the pages, sometimes the pages dried my tears.

I would hold my precious books close to me and pray the bad things would stop. I would hold them closer still when it was over and my mother would fall to the couch, staining the velvety fabric with crimson drops of life and crystalline tears sorrow. Sometimes I crawled out and cried with her and other times I stayed still and quiet so she wouldn’t see I was crying too.

We walked out the door one day and left the couch and everything else behind. My favorite books were forgotten, left to lay behind the soft, sand colored couch. I longed for them, for they had been my armor for so long and I feared without them I couldn’t be strong if I needed to be. A day soon came when it was safe to go back to the house with the sand colored couch and I reclaimed my books.

When I re-examine the couch of my memory now, it is different from the one my innocence had imagined. The velvety fabric faded, the softness replaced with wear. The cushions were flattened, their comfort long since used up. It was the color of carpet when boots have been tracked in on a rainy day. It was a nice enough couch; it just wasn’t the couch my young mind had made it to be.

The small space in the corner where the couch met the wall was barely big enough for one to squeeze into, but it had been a fortress for two. I know now the protection I thought it provided us was more of a longing than a reality. I don’t know what happened to the sand colored couch after we walked out that door for the last time.

I don’t know what happened to my favorite books. One by one they must have been left behind and lost as the years of my childhood quickly passed. I hope they were found and treasured by another and I pray my tears are the only ones that ever fell to soak into their pages.

My books, like that couch, where a part of my past that provided both protection and solace for me. The couch has become a symbol, a reminder not everything is always how it seems to be. Maybe it’s why I always see beauty in the brambles. Those books, my first books, the ones my mother used to teach me to read, somehow took me on one last journey with them, one which led me into the future.

I became a part of those stories and they will always be a part of me. I was given a moments peace in the midst of chaos because someone once sat down and penned simple words to a page, never knowing they would one day shield a little girl from the absolute pain of her world, even if it was just for a moment in time.

I honor and cherish those who carried me away on their quill when I had nowhere I could run to. They were my best friends when I had none. The poets and the storytellers who filled page after page with pieces of themselves were my heroes. They will always be my heroes. They gently held my hand and waltzed with me as I put pen to paper and began my own dance with words.

The pain of that memory and many more like it still linger, but they don’t have the hold on me they once did. I took what I thought represented nothing but sorrow and anger and fear in my life and I pulled something worthy out of it. I know God was with us there in the little corner behind the soft, sand colored couch. He gave me what I needed to get to where I am and I will forever praise him for that gift.

Crystal R. Cook