What breaks my heart…….

It’s at this time of year we look back, take stock, reminisce on times gone by. I was recently asked what breaks my heart? A strange question you may think, but I’ll put it into context a little. I’ve recently been hooked to the “Your Dream Life with Kristina Karlsson” podcast created by Kristina from Kikki.K (My favourite ever planner) In her interview with Dr Tererai Trent, Dr Tererai asked the question… What breaks your heart? I had to really think hard on this. Yes there’s lots I don’t like that goes on in the world, injustice, poverty, all the damage we’re doing to the planet. How the world leaders at the moment are so out of line with who I believe should be running nations and countries.
All of that however is much bigger than I am. All of those things are going to take movements, hero’s! Everyday people making a change, a stand. When the time comes and there’s an opportunity to make a change of course I will stand and make one, but is this breaking my heart? Yes a little but my gut was telling me there was more….
When I look back on my life what has caused me the most pain?  Ex boyfriends, lost opportunities, my constant battle with food and diet. Yes those sometimes cause me pain and regret, but they pass and I forget them again, and it doesn’t really impact my life too much….

I think a little more soul searching was going to be needed to answer this question.

A little time later it struck me…. Memories….. Memories break my heart. As I sit and write this tears are actually flowing uncontrollably.
One of my biggest fears, the heartbreaking thought I have is that one day I will lose my memories….. Just like I watched my Nana slowly lose all of hers.
This still breaks me 9 years after she has passed away. Even 14 years after she had begun with dementia. I can instantly think of her losing her memories and immediately be heart broken all over again.
When I was growing up my Nana’s living room, well erm…… it was kind of a little shine to one certain little girl. At the last final count before my nana moved into a home there were 36 individual photo’s hung on walls, framed on dressers, scattered about the living room of yours truly. Starting from my first ever photo’s all the way through those wonderful school photo’s we all have, our holidays to Ireland together, and special occasions in-between.
I would walk into my Nana’s house and feel unconditional love, unconditional pride. Someone thought so highly of me they adorned their walls with portraits of me. It wasn’t only wall space but she had albums upon albums of family photo’s. We would sit on rainy afternoons and look through them together, she would tell me of the people I’d never met, how they were connected to me, the different places they’d been, and all the great adventures and memories they’d had.
We still have all those albums, they still smell of her home, they still feel the same way as when I was little, they are some of my most treasured possessions now.
As we packed all of these memories away it’s like we were packing them away from her mind also. As the years went on she couldn’t recall some of the family, or she could but they would be the wrong age, or it would be the wrong year that she was remembering.
I too was forgotten….
One of my final happy memories of her when I had gone to visit her in the home, I think it was my final visit before my move to Plymouth. We’d been there for no more than 20 minutes or so literally as soon as you’d walk in to see her, she would say, “you won’t stop long will you” I don’t think it’s that she didn’t want to see us, but she didn’t want to take up our time. We were saying our goodbyes and she held my hand on her’s and said the words I’ll never forget.

“I don’t know who you are, but I know that I love you.”

This….. this short sentence….. I hope will stay with me forever! I hope it never leaves me, I know it is etched into my soul, and that I will never ever forget it!
I’ll never know what was going through her mind, I’ve thought about it so so many times. I mean, imagine that’s like you or I saying that to a complete stranger. How brave she must have been, how strong she must have been, even when she seemed so frail. How strong love is even when your mind is gone………
The memories had gone but the feelings hadn’t, the pictures on the wall had been taken down, but the feeling of love remained.
The feelings I have now, the feelings I’m left with.
I was loved, I was cherished. Someone was proud of me, someone cared for me. Someone loved me unconditionally even when her mind had been taken from her.
These memories not only break my heart, but wrap me in love and heal me. They remind me each day that our memories are so important. They make us who we are and how we feel. They make us the person we are today.
I think I’m the person I am today because of all those years of my pictures hung on walls, drawings, cardboard creations, mess’, all of it. I do this job that I love because for me, our memories are one of the most precious things we possess.
I’m often asked how I fell into photography, and do you know something it’s not till I’ve sat down and this has all poured out of me that I had truly understood why this was my calling. Why I was so passionate about photography, why I do what I do.
I do this for the memories, so that other children can experience the unconditional love that I grew up with. A simple portrait hung in the home of a loved one, can greatly alter a child. A childs self esteem, self worth, importance, image of themselves…..

It can change a child’s life……..

I capture my memories, I lock them into my mind, and then I try where I can to do a back up, a hard copy if you will. Be that on my phone, in my camera, onto paper, just some way, so that if one day if I do lose my memories from my mind, hopefully I will have one big scrap book, album, gallery wall I can revisit and they can all hopefully come flooding back to me.
I didn’t want to write this for my business, I don’t intend it to be used for promotional purposes. I wanted to write this because my body was forcing it out of me to answer one of the toughest questions I’ve had to answer in a long time.
But I suppose because I am my business, and my business is me we’re inter twinned like that, and it does come back to me being me, and me being a photographer.
This festive season I hope you make those memories, Capture them. Cherish them, and in the new year, don’t forget to make that back up hard copy. Print what you love, display it in your home, and perhaps even change a life…

I wish you all a Merry Christmas, and wonderful New Year.

Jenny x 

Gold leaf is scattered onto a white backdrop with a text graphic written on top stating a message from Jenny