Crystal Faircloth • Photographs

Crystal Faircloth
Crystal Faircloth

Have you ever found yourself cleaning out the closet and happen upon a box of old pictures you forgot you had? Your hand grazes the dust to find those ancient treasures from long ago that tell a story about another time or a life lived before the present. Those faces smile back at you and bring back the memories of yesteryear. You can almost taste Grandma’s chocolate cake or smell Uncle Jethro’s cigar smoke as you flip through the photographs. A few pieces of fancy yellowed paper that meant nothing make the ones who left this world come to life for a few precious moments.  

I recently attended a good friend’s funeral service. Her and her mother died tragically in a terrible car accident, through no fault on their part. She was one of the four hearts that made up our small group of middle-aged women. We laughed, we loved, we ate, and we shared and held each other’s secrets. As the others and I sat in those funeral home chairs and cried for our lost companion, a reel of photographs played on the screen above our heads.  

Our girl was a picture taker. Any time was a good time to snap a memory for her. She took them on the days she felt pretty, and her smile not only lit up her face, but it lit up the whole room as well. She clicked away when her daughter was pregnant with her grandchildren. She took images of birthday parties, co-workers, her children, her friends, and even of her mother who now lay next to her in stillness. Her father passed a few years before, and their family photos rolled on by in the memories during our final farewell.  

“Hopefully Hannah will take up her picture hobby,” I whispered.

“She loved to take her selfies when she was having a good day,” Karen replied. 

“She had so many insecurities when she was here. I don’t understand why. She was beautiful,” I cried. 

Our sweet soul sister was always worried about love and life in general. She never felt she was good enough or deserving enough of all her accomplishments, but what she didn’t realize was she was a genuine angel in disguise that would give you the shirt off of her back. That’s just how she was.  

Later on in the day, another in our group called to talk about the services.

“I think I remember her taking a picture of us at my 50th birthday party. She worked all day and showed up after she got off at 10 p.m. that night. There’s a picture of the two of us somewhere. It meant a lot to me that she came,” she said. She called the next day to let me know she had in fact found that picture. 

“I’m going to screenshot it and print it out. I’m so she took it.” Our photographer had struck again.  

I have an aunt who is a picture taker too. I’m not photogenic by any means, and I loathe any snapshots that are directed my way. I’d much rather have images of everyone else, but after this past week, that little lady can point and shoot all she wants. Someday, my family will need to play a reel on the screen at the funeral home. I hope I’m missed. I hope I’m thought of with love.

I hope the memories that play up there fill their hearts with joy, but mostly, I hope they remember me just the way I was in the photograph.  

Matthew 26:13 

Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.

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