Preserving Precious Moments: Capturing Memories Before They Fade

Caption: This is Chelle, our daughter’s Spring Dance Concert at Columbus State University

In life’s journey, we all go through various phases that shape who we are. As we grow up, our interests and passions evolve, leaving behind cherished memories that eventually become part of our personal history. It’s fascinating how these moments, however fleeting, hold a special place in our hearts.

This is my older sister and I with my grandparents when they visited us while we were living at Kennedy Home, part of the Baptist Children’s Homes in Kinston, North Carolina.

When reminiscing about my childhood, I recall a time when I only wanted to be a real-life GI Joe. Looking back, I can still see myself in those army clothes through a few old photographs. Another memory that stands out is riding my beloved banana seat 3-speed bicycle with a sissy bar, a feeling of freedom that I wish I had more pictures to relive today. And then there was my passion for chess; being part of a chess club was a defining moment for me, even if there was just one snapshot of me playing the game.

We put many of our family photos on the tables during the reception at the Kistler House, Morganton, NC, on August 3, 2008, for my parent’s David and Bonita Leary’s 50th wedding anniversary. We will be celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary on August 6, 2023.

We all share this tendency to immerse ourselves in various pursuits, discovering what truly resonates with us. Though not all hobbies and interests stick with us throughout life, they undoubtedly leave an indelible mark on our journey.

Recently, my friend John Payne, a talented photographer based in Morganton, North Carolina, specializes in capturing the essence of high school seniors, creating beautiful portraits that capture the spirit of this pivotal phase. Interestingly, some of her younger dance mates desired similar photos after photographing a young dancer. John wisely responded that while the girls may still be dancing, their interests could change as they grow older.

Spring Dance Concert Columbus State University

This simple statement struck a chord with me. Why postpone capturing these precious moments, especially for our children? As parents, we all know the bittersweet feeling of an empty nest when our children leave home to embark on their adventures. During such moments, we often find ourselves wishing for more photos and memorabilia to surround us, reminding us of the joyous times when our children were still living under our roof.

Keiki Hula Dancers practice year-round to perfect their moves and routine. We did some promotional photos of them at sunset on the beach in Kona, Hawaii.

I am reminded of my mentor and friend, Don Rutledge, who faced the challenges of dementia. As his memory faded, he found solace in revisiting the memories I had captured for him through my thesis. Those pictures and stories provided a lifeline to a life well-lived, bringing moments of clarity and comfort to him during his harrowing journey.

Chelle, our daughter’s dress rehearsal for her first dance recital. She is just five years old in this photo.

Therefore, I encourage everyone to seize the present and capture these priceless moments with loved ones while they are still vibrant and fresh. Embrace the beauty of photography to preserve these memories beyond digital confines. Although Facebook and Instagram offer a convenient way to share snapshots of our lives, let’s not forget the joy of having tangible prints displayed around our homes. Consider creating coffee table books, natural treasures that can be shared with family and friends, sparking conversations and evoking heartfelt emotions.

Let us cherish the memories that shape us, for they are the threads of life’s rich tapestry woven with love, laughter, and the magic of fleeting moments.