Strong is Your Hold

jimgalapSometimes I think every picture I take embodies this week’s photographic theme: “Gone, But Not Forgotten.”

I took this picture of my husband Jim at the end of December.  He died only a few months later.  Although you would never have known it by either looking at him or even having been with him then, we all knew how quickly time was running out.

In some ways, I feel that I took up a camera in Jim’s stead.  It gives me a concrete way to capture memories unbound by time and distance–and perhaps by life itself.

To record images seems a little cheat in preserving the remembered life Galway Kinnell described when he wrote–in the collection Strong is Your Hold–of the moment we knew was coming:

“in a transformation
as quick as a shooting star’s
I will cross over into you
and ask you to carry
not only your own memories
but mine too until you
too lie down and erase us
both together into oblivion.”


About Stephanie

In her spare time, Stephanie works full-time, and then some, as an attorney. She has published articles and delivered talks in arcane fields like forensic evidentiary issues, jury instructions, and expert scientific witness preparation. She also is an adjunct professor at a law school on the banks of the Charles and loves that dirty water, as she will always think of Boston as her home. You are welcome to take a look at her Facebook author page, or follow @SMartinGlennon on Twitter. All content on this blog, unless otherwise attributed, is (c) 2012-2020 by Stephanie M. Glennon and should not be reproduced (in any form other than re-blogging in accordance with Wordpress protocol and the numerous other wee buttons at the bottom of each post) without the express permission of the domain holder.
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20 Responses to Strong is Your Hold

  1. glorious are the memories that we carry onward of another…

  2. Allan G. Smorra says:

    Thank you for the link to the poem. It has touched me in ways that I have not experienced before.

  3. Pingback: Gone, But Not Forgotten | Ryan Photography

  4. Sorry for your loss, Stephanie.


  5. I wonder if sometimes you see something unexpected in the photos you take now. Sometimes I think we try to capture an image to remember or a place or a thing when something we didn’t see through the lens surfaces in the photograph later. A hidden memory revealed?

    This happened to me recently as I was going through photos of family and friends, some of whom are gone. It happened again when I went back to a familiar place after the death of a very loved friend and took pictures and was also photographed by another friend. I thought I was smiling but I wasn’t. The photograph revealed the lost feeling I had when I stood in surroundings beautiful and familiar yet changed unalterably.

    • Stephanie says:

      I like the idea of a “hidden memory revealed”–it’s almost the inverse of Margaret Atwood’s idea of memory obscured by the oddities of photographic capture (as in her character’s reaction to photographs of Canada in “At the Tourist Centre in Boston”).

      I’ve had similar experiences, some of them when I went through those computer files. There were pictures from a last December birthday party at our house, almost all of them of beaming guests happy to have a chance to be together and see Jim while he still felt like himself. There’s one in particular where I didn’t realize my own image was reflected in a mirror as I took a picture of cards friends and family members had put on a table in the front entrance, and even with the camera blocking half my face I look so alone and haunted even in a house full of festive people.

      More often, I find whimsical surprises hidden in photographs–letters, hearts, animals.

  6. DeniseGlennon says:

    I miss him too. Somehow, December 10th looms large in my heart, even though it’s been 3 years. It probably will always be this way. There is no one like Jim, except Jim. Lots of memories of childhood birthdays. Sending you a hug from PA and reminding you we are always here for you. Lots of love.

  7. ann martin says:

    We miss him so much — I can’t imagine your loss of Jim — so young and so loved by you and the children. I was thinking of him as we near the 10th of December — we think of him and you and Sam, Noah, Emma, and Suzz — all our love to all of you. He would be proud of all of you and your abilities to cope and move on with your lives — live — work — play — and be as happy with your loved ones as he was happy with his.

  8. Carol Whalen says:

    Hugs … And more hugs … And one more, for good measure.

  9. Maya says:

    Too hard to say anything appropriate here…so hugs…big ether hugs to you.

  10. Lucid Gypsy says:

    I’m so sorry Stephanie.

  11. Paula says:

    Dear Stephanie, I wish I could say something to make you feel better. Did you take the other photo in the post too?

    • Stephanie says:

      Thanks, Paula. I did take that picture: on the other side of that wonderful back-and-forth between father and first son is a very tired and happy me in a well-worn pink floral hospital gown. Just the three of us in that room, and I’m so happy to have preserved a (real film!) image of the two of them.

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