The purpose of this blog was for my husband, Bill, and me to find things we could do that would make our life rewarding during the latest and most challenging portion of our lives and then share what we did. This became more difficult to achieve last year when Bill’s physical challenges led to him being completely homebound, tethered to his oxygen equipment a good share of the time, and with a short-term memory loss that had become severe. Many of the usual pleasures of our senior years were no longer available to us: things like travel, attendance at musical or cultural events, or even watching movies or television since the plot line would disappear from Bill’s brain during the commercial. In spite of that, we found one of the best projects of our life and carried out the bulk of it during that last year. And we had some of the most wonderful times together in the course of completing that project; times that far exceeded the pleasure we had received from many of the usual activities.
Most of us who are in, or are approaching, the final fifteen percent of our lives very likely have a large collection of both hard-copy and digital photographs. We have not only the pictures that we took ourselves, but also pictures we may have inherited from our parents or other relatives. I suspect that many of you, like me, had an entire bookcase full of photo albums. Our project started out when I took some of the photo albums out and decided it would be fun for Bill and I to look over the memories of our past. Bill’s short-term memory may have been severely compromised but his long-term memory was just fine. However, as we looked through our old photographs and had fun sharing the memories those photographs invoked, I could not help but notice that many of the photos had begun to deteriorate, some of them very badly. I also found that some of the oldest photographs, the ones I had inherited from my mother, were of people whose names I no longer remembered. Continue reading