When my mother was sad, she would spend hours going over old pictures. She kept them in a blue box that was in an old sideboard in our living room. It was her thing. If my father said “your mother is with her blue box” I knew that something was wrong, that she was extremely sad.
One day she told me she was going to get rid of all the old pictures from the time she lived in Europe. Those were pictures of her relatives, people who most probably had died in WW II, people she barely remembered. Still, I didn`t understand why, all of a sudden, she didn`t want to have them. I knew she didn`t cry because of the pictures, she cried with them, she needed to see them when sad.
I begged her not to, I said I would keep them with me. She finally agreed. Those were the first family pictures that were in my possession.
Years later, my father had an argument with my mother, I never knew what about. But he was mad. And it had to do with the blue box. As a result, my father gave me some family pictures and said they were for me, that he wanted me to have them. And those were the second bunch of family pictures that were in my possession.
When I was in my early 40´s I offered my mother to organize all the pictures in albums. They were in plastic bags or envelopes in no order whatsoever. The blue box was chaotic. But every time I wanted to start working on them, she would cry.
Over the years, my father gave me lots of pictures. Some of them to keep, some of them to return to the blue box. I`m not sure what his reasons were but it had something to do with my mother not letting go.
When my mother died, my father went through a phase of “destruction”. He tore up lots of papers, lots of letters, cards and pictures. Once again, I found myself begging, please don`t do it. And I took the blue box with me. I couldn`t save all the letters, but I saved most of the pictures. Those were the third bunch of pictures that were in my possession.
I`m going through the pictures now, trying to date them, trying to guess who is who, when they were taken, etc. It`s hard work since I have no clue, specially for the older ones. I have to compare papers, marks, type of clothing, etc. Little by little, I`m solving the puzzle.
There is a big puzzle that I may never solve and it`s my mother`s crying with those pictures. Why did she need to be with them? what sort of comfort she found? what were those things my father was so mad about? what were those things she didn`t let go?
All mysteries yet to be solved.