It was several Aprils ago when my ex husband moved out of our home. Gone were his belongings and some furniture, and him. But what remained were our family pictures on the wall, in frame on tables.

My intention was to discretely replace those photos when my kids were off at summer camp, as if they wouldn’t notice when they came home. When the buses pulled out and my kids were off for their summer adventure, I went home intending to take those pictures down. But I didn’t.

I did remove the one wedding picture we had displayed, but the pictures on the wall, still hang there today. I look at them and smile. I remember the fuss everyone made when I insisted on matching white tops and blue jeans. I laugh at one photo taken in our backyard where our baby boy wouldn’t smile. Only later that day did I realize that he had a fever (not my finest Mommy Moment).

I admire the photo of us all at Disney World and I recall how all the families around us were yelling and crying. “The happiest place on earth?”, looking back at the pictures, I almost believe it.

I left those pictures up for several reasons.

  1. They’re memories. Like all memories, they’re in the past, never to be recaptured but yet there we see evidence of them. They speak to us. They remind us of the stories of that moment in time.
  2. They’re our family. My children’s family. Never to be erased from memory or from our life. We lived them. Our family looks different now, but this is how our family looked at one time. Not necessarily a better or a worse time; simply a different time.
  3. The absence of those pictures says more to my kids than their presence. Kids don’t process divorce they way grown ups do. My kids probably haven’t even thought about why those pictures are still up. Had I taken them down however, I think they would have noticed and I think they would have asked questions.

Just because this worked for me, doesn’t mean that it’s right for everyone. We all have to do what feels right for us, but don’t be in such a rush to remove all memories of your life past. If you really need to remove them until you’re further along in your healing process, then tuck them safely away until you’re able to decide what feels right for you.

 

Heather Feldstein

Heather is the single mother of 2 kids. Prior to her writing on the topic of divorce, Heather founded and managed WordsByMom.com, a showcase of children’s book reviews. Heather’s work received much media attention and she was featured on many Canadian and American television shows including Canada AM, The Marilyn Denis Show and Breakfast Television. Heather was also featured on many radio shows throughout North America and her writing has been published in many newspapers and magazines.

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