Friday, April 24, 2009

[F]oto Friday

Have you ever seen a photo of yourself and been reminded of someone, a family member, you don't see upon looking in the mirror? It's not so blatant a resemblance, just something subtle captured by the still shot?

That's what's happened with my new profile picture, here on this blog. When I see it? The curve of my chin, the set of my jaw, reminds me of my uncle Rob's face. And that's a bittersweet thing.

We lost him to the waters of the Missouri River in Nebraska, almost nine years ago. It was a fishing accident; one begun with strong currents, ended with fatal undertows.

He was twenty-seven when he died. Three years younger than I am now. There's a lot he didn't get to see, experience, do.

But that picture, where I sit summoning his memory, reminds me of all he did do, of all he was. Makes me think of what he could have been. And my heart sags just a little bit.

Amazing what a mere [F]oto can do.

RIP Robert Elledge
1972-2000

31 comments:

Terri Tiffany said...

What a sad way to lose a relative! But how nice you can see him in you. I took a picture of me yesterday cause I got my bangs back and noticed my mouth looks like my mother's now--but she's old and not sure I like it!

Capri K said...

That is so sad about your uncle!
I am glad you have that glimpse of him in the picture!

Lori Tiron-Pandit said...

It's weird. I never can see resemblances. But they do make the family bond stronger, don't they?

I like this profile photo of yours very much, by the way.

The Hat Chick said...

I am so sorry he was taken from you so suddenly. Isn't it comforting to know a little piece of him lives on in you?

Jody Hedlund said...

I love the way photos do that. I was just looking at a picture of my mom and thinking of all of features of her that I see in my children. Isn't God good that he made a way for the family that came before to live on in the ones who come after?

thedomesticfringe said...

Your resemblance is like a living tribute to him.

Sorry. It's hard to lose one so young. I have a cousin who passed away when I was in college and he was only a few years older than I. It just doesn't seem right.

-FringeGirl

Joanne said...

This happens, in the mirror, a photo, in my children. It's funny how it changes though, sometimes I'll see a feature of my mother, another day something of a brother. It depends on the image, the moment. What a sad story about your uncle, I'm sorry for your loss.

Melanie Avila said...

That's so sad about your uncle. That would make me happy to be able to see a little of him in myself and still feel that connection, like he's not completely gone.

I'm always struck by my resemblance to my aunt Karen, especially since I see her picture more often than other family members. Our senior pictures are very very similar -- it's spooky!

Tess said...

Thanks for sharing this tender thought - very well said. I used to dislike the parts of me that reminded me of my mother....now I cherish them. That's what a gift a little age and perspecitve is.

Janet said...

:o(

Janna Qualman said...

Terri - It was pretty traumatic, but time has helped. -- You'll have to show us!

Capri K - Thank you, and me too. :)

Lori - Maybe someday you will. Or even through your daughter. And wow, thanks! I've been told it's my "pensive, writerly" photo. ;)

Hat Chick - Thank you for your sweet condolences. :)

Jody - Such a special sort of connection, for sure. :)

Janna Qualman said...

FringeGirl - It's hard to come to terms with sometimes, isn't it?

Joanne - I love moments like that, when I catch one person in the looks of another... especially if it connects one of my elders with my kids.

Melanie - What a bonus to the bond you have, though, right?

Tess - Age and perspective do so much, don't they? :)

Janet - Turn that frown upside down. :o)

Rebecca Nazar said...

I'm sorry for your loss. Resemblances can be a comforting. It's reassuring to say things like: oh, we all have the Wade family eyes, or there's the Nazar nose.

Jessica said...

Wow, that's so sad. And he was really young.
I know what you mean. It's weird. Sometimes I look in the mirror and see my mom's eyes.

Ang said...

I am so sorry for the loss of your uncle. I can relate to your story of seeing your loved ones in certain pictures of yourself. Sometimes I can see my mom in some of my pics or in the pics of my daughter. It's comforting to me.

Melissa Marsh said...

Beautiful tribute.

Funny. I really don't think of my relatives when I look at my photo. Instead, I think of them when I look at my feet (I have my dad's feet) or when I look at my crooked pinky finger (from my mom's side).

Janna Qualman said...

Rebecca - Definitely some of that with my husband's family and their nose. :)

Jessica - We were close in age, too, since he was a "late" baby in my mom's family.

Ang - I agree about the comfort it brings.

Melissa - LOL! *looks at feet*

Michele (aka Raw Juice Girl) said...

Wow, what a moving and beautiful post, Janna!

Everyone says I look like one of my aunts. She's still alive, so I realize that's a blessing!!

My heart goes out to you for your uncle. I just lost a 33-year-old cousin. He was handsome, sweet, funny, caring--just the best guy ever! And, he was too young to leave us. Sometimes life just isn't fair, though. :-(

*hugs*
Michele

Nadine said...

So sorry to hear about your uncle! I like to think, that when things like that remind us of the person(i.e. your profile picture), it is their way of sending us love and reminding us that they are still with us.

Janna Qualman said...

Hi, Michele! So good to see you again. :) My condolences for your loss, too.

Nadine - I think I like that way of thinking! ;)

scarlethue said...

I only seem to catch resemblances in my face in a glance. If I study myself I don't see them.

In response to your comment on my blog-- one of my husband's favorite quotes, when we were young, was never trust anyone over 30. Now he's over 30 and he likes to joke that he doesn't even trust himself anymore!

giddymomof6 said...

Oh I know it's exactly what you mean, I don't see family resemblences until I am looking at photos. And I'm so sorry about your uncle, that must've been so tragic. Jenni

Woman in a Window said...

Oh, 27, that's so young. A tragedy. But I can imagine him there around your mouth and chin. It's so odd, isn't it, to hold people with us like this?

Lady Glamis said...

What a beautiful post. My heart aches to hear that. And at so young, gosh.

I often see my daughter in my face, although she is a strong mix of both myself and my husband. It really is crazy what we can see in other people. Thank you for sharing.

Angie Ledbetter said...

So sorry for your loss, but glad you and your strong jaw are carrying on his good memories. Hugs.

Danielle Thorne said...

Sad, but beautiful. I never knew my mother's mother. She was a young girl that left my mother in an orphanage. Years later, a family member provided us with a photograph after she had died. Sometimes in the mirror I am stunned by the resemblance in my reflection--deep set eyes, too large nose...it's haunting. My grandmother imprinted her face on me and I will have to spend my life always wondering what she was like.

colbymarshall said...

That's so sad...it's even harder to lose someone so unexpectdedly like that. But how cool that his memory is in your very face ;-)

Janna Qualman said...

scarlethue - It does seem to be in quick peeps, doesn't it?

Jenni - Another reason photos are such precious commodity.

Woman - It is, to find memory that way, but certainly such a blessing, too.

Lady - She'll come to appreciate that; that she's the healthy mix of you both.

Angie - Hugs back. Thinking of you.

Danielle, what a story! Of course, you know I'm going to say: you should write about it. :)

Colby - It's a nice, subtle reminder. :)

Kathryn Magendie said...

Oh... I am sorry someone so young left this old world too soon.

Your face is a strong one - I like that face.

KLo said...

To me, death only keeps me from going completely mad because our loved ones live on. They truly do!

Janna Qualman said...

Aw, thanks, Kat!

KLo - Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your thoughts.