Written by: Khadeja

Photos were a massive part of my life growing up. You see my older brothers didn’t have many photos from their childhood as all the family albums back in the day ‘disappeared’ in a mysterious black hole somewhere never to resurface again. As a result, they both tried to overcompensate with me and took photos of me in excess. I have album after album documenting both the significant events – birthdays, family trips, school plays – and the everyday mundane shots – of me crying, of me playing, of me posing…you get the gist.

As I grew into my teens I also enjoyed taking photos and would force my baby cousins to pose for me. This was way before digital, when every shot had to be thought out carefully otherwise you would just be wasting film! I used photos to document what I thought was important at the time. And yes, fast forward a few years and I too fell into the trap of documenting my food (hashtag millennial).

But nowadays I look at photos differently. Especially photos taken within the last 5 years. When I look at the smiling faces of one of my family photos my eyes keep scanning, searching for the one face that isn’t there…that will never be in any other photo again. Photos now are a reminder of my new reality, a reality that is incomplete with a void that I can never fill no matter how hard I try.

Looking at my wedding photos I am overwhelmed with conflicted emotions; it was beautiful, it was special, but it was also the most difficult joy I ever experienced. Looking at those photos I see people who love and care for me, I see myself in a dress that I had made to perfection, I see my other half as we mark the beginning of the rest of our lives together.

But I don’t see my mother.


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