Isn’t it funny that when we get older, that’s when we start to wish we had done certain things a little differently in life. I don’t mean we regret things. In fact I don’t think anyone should regret moments in their life. What I mean is, when we look back at our younger selves we wish that we could have cherished certain moments more. Even wishing that we could have asked more questions to the people that would have made a difference in our lives.
I went back to Cyprus (an island in the Mediterranean) to visit my parents after a year of not seeing them. While I was there I found old photo albums that my Grandpa (who I called Dedo, a Macedonian word) started way back in the day. He loved to take his camera everywhere with him just in case there might be a moment worth capturing. When the first ever black and white brownie camera was mass produced my Grandpa was the first one in line to buy it. I think that’s where I got the love of photography from. Well, I know I did. Nobody else was that obsessed with cameras in my family. I of course carried on with the obsessive tradition.
As I flipped through the old photos I saw my Grandma (who I called Baba) and I couldn’t help but reminisce on all the wonderful memories I had of her. The curlers in her hair, the fur coats, the smells of home cooked goodness, the roses in her garden that she cherished with all her heart, the watering of the verandas in the summer time and the Macedonian songs she would sing to me. Apparently I would talk to her in Macedonian too but I don’t remember the language any more.
Just then I thought about what I would ask her if she were still with me…
- Do you think that I made the right choice in not settling down?
- Were you happy with following Dedo your whole life?
- How in gods name did you make that beautiful dessert jam with whole cherries in it?
- What were the ingredients in your famous Kielbasa?
- Are you proud with the way that I have turned out?
Suddenly I found myself placing my fingers on an old photo of her standing in front of a 1950’s Ford with the rest of the family; who were all in their Sunday best. I stared into her smiling face, as if I were in a trance, wishing that she would magically come back to me somehow. I longed for her love, her stories, her wisdom and her food. But most importantly I longed for our conversations. If she were here with me right now, I would grab the moment with loving arms and never let it go. Just to be able to get the chance to say hi to her again.To say I love you again, to receive one of the greatest hugs I’ve ever received from a person again and to be able to sit with her in the kitchen and watch her dance in the art of cooking. She was like a choreographer and the ingredients were her principle dancers. Her final encore would be the food itself. Oh how I miss her so. But alas, she is no longer here. And instead I am faced with talking to an old photo that is fading away in my hand.