I often stumble upon hot takes on the internet, or conversations in the real world, where the topic is to mock or snark on people who take a lot of selfies. And every. single. time. I. get. defensive. Even if it’s not directed at me, I feel compelled to remind the world: I MADE A PHOTO BOOK OF MY DEAD DAD’S SELFIES.
But the point of my message? Do not knock the selfie.
Sometimes my Facebook feed is been peppered with memorial posts from people who either have recently lost loved ones, or who have celebrated anniversaries of losing loved ones. I notice these posts because I am also one of those people who post photos of lost loved ones on anniversaries, or when they’re on my my mind. I heard the news that the hospital where my Aunt (now gone two years) was an administrator closed, and it prompted another stroll down memory lane where I shared out photos from her. I post photos of my lost loved ones ALL THE TIME. So it always makes me feel validated when others do the same.
Recently I jokingly responded to my husband’s eyeroll when I specifically demanded a selfie from an mountain-biking outing, “I NEED SOMETHING TO POST ON FACEBOOK WHEN YOU DIE.”
But I was also serious.
I find scrolling through photos of lost loved ones SO soothing and I never EVER think, “I really wish I had fewer photos to scroll through.” No, I’m always sad when I reach the end of their name search in Google Photos. Or I’m sad when I realize I’ve seen every photo in the batch at least 100 times. And in opposition? I’m THRILLED if a family member sends me a new photo they’ve discovered. LOOK! A NEW PICTURE TO LOOK AT OF THIS PERSON I WILL NEVER SEE AGAIN!
To me, photos are treasures for later. Even all of the goofy selfies I take, I hope my kids will one day savor when I’m gone. Snapshots of fun days together, or adventures I took alone. And I never shame my kids for their selfies because what better way to reflect back on their youth when they are old and boring?
Scrolling through the photos on his memory cards after he died was a special kind of necessary therapy that helped me grieve. And in contrast, scrolling through photos from E when he was younger has me fondly reflecting on his childhood. He was probably 10 or so when I really started embracing the selfie and I love all of the photos from those days.
All of this is to say…I refuse to allow the world to shame me for those photos. They serve as a goofy reminder for me when Facebook does the,”On this day…” memory page. They serve as fun memories for my friends who may be tagged in the same memories. And they will hopefully someday serve as fun memories for my kids and my loved ones after I’m gone.