Chepstow

The Photograph

THE LAST PHOTO by Lesley Jones

When I first saw the photo that graced the final page I had wondered what the future held. Years of responsibility for other people were at an end. A defining moment in my life. No longer needed to cook meals, wash clothes and organize the lives of others. They were all gone.

Oh! we looked happy enough, him in his new suit and special tie and me in my burgundy and gold outfit with that hat. I can wear a hat, and this was a humdinger of a hat, none of those little fascinators for me.

We were both smiling. His smile was full of expectation for the future, a new wife, new friends, new job, a new life two hundred miles away. My smile hid a lot. The end of an era, husband, parents, even pets all gone, now my only child was leaving my nest and making his own with someone else.

I was quite happy about it, really I was. We have children to bring them up well enough to enable them to fly and that's what this picture showed. Just before the wedding, outside the church where they met. The last picture of him as a single man before promising in front of family, friends and God to love someone else for the rest his life. I got a relative to take it; the logistics of official wedding photography don't allow for a picture of the groom and his parents before the wedding, they are more concerned with the bride.

Many hours had gone into presenting the album. Scrapbooking is a lot different today from just sticking newspaper clippings and pictures in a book. Some of them can be works of art. I had intended to complete it for his twenty-first birthday but life intervened and now that we are approaching his thirtieth, I have sorted through the myriad of pictures taken of him by many different people. It starts before his birth and depicts many of the happy occasions of his life: birthdays, holidays, special occasions, special, people, special places. None of them was as poignant as that last one. Him off with a new wife to a new life, and me to pick up the pieces of mine.

I would never let him know the anguish I was feeling at that moment. A lot of preparation had gone into making the day the success it undoubtedly was and I had been involved in that. I was still involved in their lives to some extent, They came for long weekends and of course I saw them at Christmas. I carried on with my life. I filled it, with activities, joined things, learned things and became a 'lady who lunched'..

Now the album is complete, it's ready for his birthday. But that is not the end of it. They are coming back to this area to live. He has got a promotion. I shall have to start a new album. Grandmas have lots of responsibilities too don't they?

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