Today, many of us watch moments in life as moving images. When I was a kid, events were recorded in what we now see as faded photos or lost albums in black and white. How things change. We now have immediacy we couldn’t have known before.
It’s astonishing that we can witness ourselves, as well as our friends and family so soon after any time we want to remember. As we watch afterwards, the film or video becomes the memory, rather than the reality of what we felt, enjoyed and experienced at the time. Think of any important point you’ve recorded: the video is such a tiny part of your day; your human memory holds a lot more than a stick or disc. Yet, after watching it a few times, we really believe that THAT was how it WAS. It becomes the only memory we can imagine. So soon, it’s history.
The last videos and films I have of my son are nearly 6 years old. That hurts. I’ve watched them so many times that I can recite the words and imitate Henry’s facial expressions. I love them, but now feel that I want to remember the real him MORE, despite Gary’s considerable skill as cameraman and life recordist: filming and photographing things I’d not normally appreciate or see at the time. He knew us so well.
Most recently, I’ve watched the film Gary recorded of Henry’s friends at the 2016 Charity Ball (the last blog) and see that the footage is brilliant and show so well what happened ‘on stage’. The 13 minutes Harry spent speaking and the wonderful half hour of ‘Henry’s Heroes” are superb, inspiring and joyous, but not the whole story. Those guys gave much, much more. Already, I think of what else happened before and after the performances. We lose the reality of a situation so quickly. However, I can remember the hugs from those lads with joy. (Only one is on film but I hold them all close to my heart – and memory!)
When I watch Henry historically in motion it’s a delight but, whilst I wouldn’t be without the images, I’m horribly aware that the reality of his time is gone. I must stop watching them over and over and try to remember the real boy I love. The one I knew with cancer who was my soulmate. The one I knew before who was “My Bonny Lad”. He’ll always be as real as the four lads who gave me a cuddle at his Ball.
Many people think that ‘I’m getting there.” I never will. Please give me time to remember my real Henry – this takes much more effort. My “Baby boy”, My “Big Guy” and the love of my life.
I’m doing better – though I can never, truly, heal. A bit like his leg never did* x
*348 Days – The Book by Henry’s Mum