I love my job. I love the people with whom I get to work and I love the variety that comes with the territory of family photos, but sometimes my job really stinks. The people that hire someone like me to help them organize their lifetime of photos and memorabilia are rarely unfriendly or unlikeable. They are folks that share my passion. We find comfort and a sense of belonging by caring for the photos and the stories that they document. Storytelling is the new buzz word in the advertising industry, but storytelling is far from being a new concept. It’s so much more than the latest marketing lingo. Storytelling connect us, and I am here to tell you that even if if those stories aren’t your own, they can bind you to the person telling them. Sometimes that really stinks..I tell myself, “Don’t get attached.” Good luck with all that.
Funerals stink. I know that’s not very politically correct, but who likes a funeral? You don’t have to dig deep to realize it’s not really the funeral that stinks but the fact that the person you’ve grown close to is no longer on this earth. The fact, that the last time you said good bye or that you kissed her cheek was the last time. Yes, I know, she’ll always be with me in “spirit,” but that doesn’t make it hurt any less right now. Yes, I know she’s in a “better” place, but the selfish me wanted to see her one more time and tell her personally that what we started together I will finish. More importantly, I wish I had found the courage to tell her what she meant to me over the last few years. I wanted to tell her that she will leave a lasting mark on me and that I have the utmost respect for her and the grace with which she handled the last months of her life despite what I’m sure was unbearable pain and discomfort. I wanted to tell her I will miss her, but I didn’t because I knew she was dealing with enough already, and she didn’t need my selfish burden. If I can be half the woman she was, I’ll be a great woman. I will miss you.
My job stinks because sometimes I have to put myself out there and be vulnerable…So this is my chance to tell you, my “clients,” what I’ve not had the courage to say or made the opportunity to say. I want to tell you that you have left a lasting impression on me. I am evolving as a person because of the opportunity that I’ve been granted to spend time with someone like you. You know who you are. We’ve sifted thru boxes of photos and albums together. We’ve laughed over crazy family stories (both yours and mine). We’ve shed a few tears together although we try to be “tough.” I’ve tried to not get “too attached” to you, but you make it impossible. For that, I am thankful. Thank you for never making me feel like the hired help. You invite me into your homes, allow me to handle and see your most treasured moments, and you honor me with your voice and priceless stories. You trust me to help you put those stories into a form that you will pass onto your family. You write “thank you” on my invoices when you pay them or send me Christmas cards of your families. Please know that those small acts remind me why I love doing what I do. I’ve got the best “job” in the world and whether you like it or not, I consider you my friend.