This is not my normal blog post but one that I feel I should write about. This, of course, is a topic that has been posted, written, and shared by most photographers. This post isn’t intended to be a lecture of why you should take pictures, nor is it intended to preach that you should be present in your children’s lives; it’s a painful reminder of things I didn’t think of when I was younger. Fifteen years ago today, I lost one of the most important and influential people in my life: my older brother, Marcus. This is one of the hardest things I’ve ever in my life written so please, I ask for a little patience and understanding.
To know Marcus for five minutes was to truly know him; he was considerate, loving, and benevolent to anyone and everyone who was lucky enough to cross his path. He embodied the saying, “never knew a stranger”, his laughter was light hearted and infectious, and it always reassured me when I felt lost. I think about him almost every day and it’s sometimes the weirdest things which bring that to fruition. I’ll hear a song he loved, or smell the cologne he used to wear, someone will say a phrase he used to say or sometimes even someone that looks like how I remember him or how he would have looked today. Most times I smile or feel myself welling up behind my eyes.
Marcus was the one that helped me find my interest in photography. He studied it throughout high school and was obsessed with it! It helped that when he had an idea or saw a location, I was the one he would drag out to capture it with him. His intensity for photography made me want to see what it was all about. Growing up in Colorado, our mother would drag us out, almost daily, to watch the beautiful sunsets, and those of you from Colorado know how often we are blessed with those. When I started high school, I signed up for photography, yearbook, and anything I could that involved a camera. After school, either one of us could always be found with a camera on them. I would get pictures of him and his friends and he would do the same for me, it was like our own personal paparazzi!!
Yes, that is a disposable camera in his hands!
As I sit here on his anniversary, I scroll through so many pictures that have been scanned in from our childhood growing up to shortly before he passed. I am utterly devastated and heartbroken; I can’t find a picture of us together as we got older. Not just one of us alone but not the two of us together in our group of friends. One of us was always taking the picture. It never occurred to the late teenage Miqui that this moment or even that this person may never be in another memory of mine. We never stopped to ask someone else to take a picture of us together… it just never occurred to us. Fifteen years ago, electronics were not what they are today; no camera phones or selfie sticks and cell phones were only used to call people and that’s it — I know, crazy! I’m sure I sound really old and should start it off by saying “back in my day…” but the thought never entered my mind that this person, my brother, may one day no longer be there.
I do my best to never live my life by saying phrases like “I wish I would have…” or “If only I knew….” As much as I love and miss my brother, I’m lucky for so many other reasons: I have two other brothers that are significant to me for so many other reasons and I’m blessed to have watched their lives and their families grow and flourish. Today when my immediate family all gets together, which doesn’t happen often as not everyone lives here; they have learned that we’re going to set aside an hour or two for pictures. Of course it never works out the way I envision; March in Colorado is CRAZY COLD, my younger brother has two twin boys (not even two yet), ten kids total and eight adults…it’s crazy but we do it anyways!
My whole family – March 2015
Even when our friends and family gather at the cemetery on his birthday and passing date; I’ve started to take pictures. Some people might think that’s weird but that is something I think he would have done for me. It’s a memory, whether good or bad, to remember.
Loved one gathered over the years – remembering an amazing spirit
My only words of advice is BE in the pictures!! Stop and ask someone to take your picture, timers and tripods work wonders, if all else fails; prop your camera up on anything! And lastly, it doesn’t make a difference if you want to lose some more weight or the kids are crying/screaming; it’s the moment that you captured that won’t or may never happen again. Thank you for reading the ramblings of a mad woman!