Lifestyle

The Hands of Time

Charlene Beck 1936-2013

Very recently I lost my hero, a woman instrumental in raising me and a beloved Grandma to all who knew her – family or otherwise. It was the most difficult goodbye I have ever experienced and just writing this post tears stream down my face. She taught me how to write my name, how to turn caterpillars into butterflies, how to sew a pillow, how to love family unconditionally and how to make potato soup on a cold day. She taught me that no amount of money can ever be more valuable than what you have inside you. Kindness, creativity, thoughtfulness, the choice to do the right thing, and how you treat others is what is important.

Photography is a tool that can be used in many different ways. For me, I had to take photographs as a way of expressing outwardly what was happening inside, a way to cope with grief, to see and understand through the viewfinder what was difficult in the present. The sound of the old, large Hasselblad shutter slamming down was therapeutic. A show of respect. This is important to me, you were important to me with each click. It is painful and beautiful to look at the images so raw and real, a universal experience we all as human beings share. Thank god for photography…it has saved me so many times.

She was beautiful and wild, she had her father’s green thumb, she was amazing at crafts and I’ll ALWAYS miss her potato soup and cornbread, the memories of standing in the kitchen together, and most of all she loved her family past and present.

To every spring, my Grandma, I will think of you when the garden starts to grow. To every red bird that sits on my windowsill I will think of it as you stopping by to say hello. 

Much love until we see each other again. 

To my family – though my work takes me far away, I carry you all inside my heart and think of you often, as I hope to be half the woman she was. 

 



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  • http://jennifertrovato.blogspot.com/ Jennifer T.

    I’m so sorry for your loss. She sounds like an incredible woman and I’m sure she treasured you as much as you treasured her. Beautiful post. God bless you and your family through this tough time:)

  • Arzoo Amer

    This brought tears to my eyes. I’m so incredibly sorry for your loss Jamie. From personal experience, I know losing someone close to you is one of the hardest things that a person can go through. Knowing that she’s had such a strong influence on you and your character, I know your grandmother must have been an incredible woman. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  • JKausen

    I admire you taking a tough subject and creating a beautiful entry about it that is very moving. Love to you !!!

  • http://www.hoggerandco.com Hogger & Co.

    Jamie, so sorry for the loss of your lovely Grandma. The posts about her are a beautiful ode to her memory; what a lady! Thank you for sharing these images and stories; it is undeniably hard to lose someone so dear. A testament to her is what great work you do and continue to put forth, so take pride in that, and keep yer chin up kid.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jose.m.bermejo Jose M. Bermejo

    I’m really very sorry Jamie. I recently lost my mother and I can understand all the pain you must be suffering. I hope God gives to you and to your family all the strength to get over this difficult times.

  • http://www.mailinh-nguyen.com/ Mailinh

    Jamie, I am so sorry for your loss. Just know that you and your family are in my thoughts. This was such a beautiful tribute to her. She will alway be with and a part of you.

  • http://cnicolepd.tumblr.com/ Clarissa Nicole

    It’s one thing to write about passing, it’s another to post pictures with words. This is very beautiful in a gut wrenching way. From one photographer to another (who’s obviously leaps and bounds ahead of me), thank you for stating what true photography is.

    Thank you for sharing this with us. I’m very sorry for your family’s loss.

  • http://lasaloperie.blogspot.com/ Isa

    I’m so, so sorry for your loss. I’m sure your words would have been greatly appreciated – she sounds amazing, and it sounds like she will be greatly missed.

  • CiaoChessa

    Jamie, I am so very sorry for your loss and the pain I know you’re feeling. Your words are so beautiful that for the first time ever visiting your blog it seems that the images that accompany them, while evocative and beautiful, are secondary. Your grandmother sounds like an extraordinary woman. I lost my grandfather last year and he was the rock in my family. He was a humble, kind man who had the courage and bravery to move his family to a foreign country and to raise them the best he could with whatever means. I wonder where he got that strength and sometimes I try to draw from his example in difficult times. It’s amazing to think about the journey our grandparents and all our ancestors have been on and to see them side by side with our own. I think it’s so interesting to think about those traits that come from someone in our family and that ultimately become our own and that we eventually pass to future generations. Your grandmother lives on bc your memories, life, words and images will be part of her legacy. Again, I’m so very sorry for what you’re going through. You’re in my thoughts and prayers.

  • http://twitter.com/_beccap Rebecca Prisaznuk

    I’m sorry to hear that you lost your grandmother, Jamie- I lost my grandma about two weeks ago and your statement resonates with me so much. It can be hard to slow down to allow yourself to grieve. I hope you are finding comfort in your memories with her as I am doing with mine. xx

  • http://twitter.com/sparklemeetspop Emily West

    I’m tearing as I’m reading. I’m so sorry you lost someone so important to you. Your grandma sounded like an amazing woman. May you continue to cherish her through memories and the life you lead knowing she helped shape it. I hope you’re surrounded with support from family and friends and that your heart will start to heal. Love to you!

  • http://www.amyrenepowell.blogspot.com/ Amy

    I am so sorry for you loss! this is a beautiful tribute to her memory and I wish you & your family all the best. she seems like a true, wonderful, inspirational grandmother.

  • http://monikademyer.com/ Monika de Myer

    So sorry to hear about your loss. And thank you for sharing this very personal story with us.

  • Dee Rasmussen

    Jamie, my very sincere condolences to you and your family. Take time to replay your many, many cherished memories of this dee-lightful woman that you were privileged to call your beloved Grandma. That will so help you in the journey of the healing process. Allow yourself time to feel what you feel and respond to those feelings as you need to even though the world seems to expect this to be a three day process at maximum. Honor her by loving well all of those important to you. And lastly, know that she will live on in your heart as long as you breathe. May you know God’s love and peace in the days to come. You’ve captured so poignantly with your beautiful photography this tribute to yiur Grandma. Ciao, Dee

    Ps – I looked at the link to her potato soup and cornbread. I, too, am from the south. I promise you that I will send up a prayer for both your Grandma and you each time I make her recipe.

  • Meaghan

    How brave of you to share something so personal with us. My thoughts go out to you and your family.

  • Rose Fern

    I’m so sorry.You were lucky to had had such a wonderful grandma!

  • http://twitter.com/thenewdiplomats TheNewDiplomatsWife

    So very sorry for your loss – your words about being far away from family but carrying them close in your heart certainly strike a chord for all of us that work and live far from home.

  • annawithlove

    Thinking of you and your family in this difficult time Jamie, I’m so very sorry for your loss. What a beautiful (and fun) woman she was. After reading about her in your posts I am not surprised her granddaughter is just as wonderful (and cool). Through you, her legacy will live on. May her memory be eternal. Lots of love

  • Camilla Leila

    My heart goes out to you. I know how much the loss of a treasured grandmother can ache (and how long it can ache for). You will find her all around you. I was surprised to feel my grandmother’s presence in the most unexpected ways (I am convinced every hummingbird I see is her stopping by to say hi). Sending love and strength. Thank you for sharing these beautiful words.

    xoxo

  • Anita

    My thoughts go out to you and your family. I’m sure she is looking down and looking fondly on your beautiful words. Take care x

  • http://barefoot-duchess.blogspot.gr/ barefoot duchess blog

    So tough and sweet at the same time. My Grandma story is quite similar to yours, she is closer to me than any other person in my family (except my husband, of course) and she has taught me so much. She is getting old and my fears of losing her are growing day by day, but I try to make the best of our time together… Thanks for sharing your thoughts and images with us. I am so so sorry…

  • http://twitter.com/James1542blog Buki of James1542

    Your photos are a sweet memorial to your dear grandma. The images of sadness and loss captured show how much joy and value she must have given to so many lives. She must be so proud of you! xx

  • Natasha

    phew…. tough one! Brings back memories of loosing my own grandmother…
    So SORRY for your loss!

  • http://www.facebook.com/philippe.milbault Philippe Milbault

    My condolences, How I know the pain of losing a loved one. My second son aged 17, also flew to the stars, on February 4. Maybe they will meet, I think he would like the potato soup! Courage and the flame alive in our hearts that will never die. Sincerely,
    Philippe.

  • http://twitter.com/IsabelleGuero bebbs

    Jamie, I saw this post and photos long time ago, but didn’t know exactly what to say. To be honest, I don’t even know how to express in words how much this pics touched me. I wish to have the gift of taking pictures of the special moments of the life like you have. I really appreciate you. So sorry about your loss, She really should be an incredible woman who inspired people, like you inspire me.

  • Christine

    I’ve read this before. And thought, “how would I be if I lost my grandma?” I can answer that question now, since I just lost my grandma; but no, I still can’t, because I still don’t know and understand why she was taken away so soon. I’ve been asking God WHY? Yet, she’s gone. I know. Just as your grandma’s gone. And asking God ‘why’ is no use. They’re with Him now. But I’m still at loss about how to feel and what to feel on how this has to happen so soon. I don’t know but I just cry and cry everytime I remember her. Just as I remember reading this before.

    Thank u Jamie for the inspiration. Your wonderful photos of your grandma’s funeral is just so remarkable I was able to remember you posted this.

    It’s hard how we’ve both lost our grandmothers. But it’s even harder to think about it over and over. x

  • Steph Zangeneh Azam

    I am new to your blog and this was the first post I read. I lost my Grammie in November and it has been an emotionally tough time. For over 25 years I have been photographing she and my Grampie and documenting their lives together. It is heartbreaking in so many ways that they’re both gone now. I am very sorry for your loss.