When I was 14, I used to be obsessed with social media and, most of all, my phone. So, like most people my age, I was always taking photos and constantly whipping my phone out to immortalise moments I thought were funny or a bit stupid.
At the time, my family used to get so irritated with it! I remember one time my phone was placed on the top of Katie’s wardrobe just so that I would be “in the moment” (but obviously that just led to a grumpy Evee). But there were countless times when we would sit around laughing at funny snapchat videos and the filters. I remember once Mum got her own snapchat account and she asked me “how do I get the rainbows coming from my mouth”.
And now of course, you know what I’m going to say, these little golden snippets of memories are invaluable. Sometimes I remember what it was like to live in that state of pure happiness; where my biggest worries were the same as everyone else’s, and sometimes I almost can feel the faint trace of the belly aching laughs we used to share together.
Other times, they make me cry. The want I feel is so great. The pull to this pixel Mum and the pixel smiles and the replayed laughs feels like it’s not from me it’s so strong. I remember a week or so after my mum died, I sat in my boyfriend’s bathroom whilst he was sleeping, swiping through the endless memories, just crying.
Now, so many social media platforms have the ability to pull up what you were doing 1 year ago, 2 years ago, 3, etc, and some days it feels like I can never get away from the grief. It’s a tempest in my body that runs riot, and then I get this reminder: “Hey! Remember this?” And even though it hurts worse than anything else, I treasure it. Because that’s my Mum, she existed, she laughed, there was a time she wasn’t dying or sad, when this wasn’t our reality, and when she could hug me and tell me everything’s going to be okay. The pain is just an indicator of how strong our bond was.
I don’t have many of these videos and photographs, and the ones I do, I share with Katie and she compiles them in a folder on her laptop. The other night I was afraid I forgot how Mummy said my name, but there it is in a video. I was afraid I had just forgotten what Mum’s voice sounded like; but Katie showed me a video mum accidentally took whilst she was worrying over her hair.
At the end of the day, however, we did not know that Mum wasn’t going to be here in 10 years’ time. How were we meant to know? So we didn’t film her all the time, take down copious notes of what she said and did. In one of my favourite songs, Beloved by Mumford and Sons, there is a line: “How have I not made a note of every word You ever said?” I think that’s how everyone feels when we are grieving. But we all have stored hours and hours of memories inside of us, and videos and photos only remind us of that. It feels like we don’t have enough, but if I could relive a day with Mum today, of course I would not be taking photos and videos, I would spend that moment enjoying her company and listening to her.
Whilst we always want more, we have the right amount.