It must have been even more difficult in the days before video, sound clips, photographs. How did you preserve the memory of your loved ones? Would even the sound of their voice be forgotten over time?
For our precious photographs and video clips, the early 19th century equivalent must have been something as simple as a lock of hair.
A couple of weeks after Jenny died, I desperately gathered as many photos and negatives of her as I could find. I put them in as best chronological order as I could and wrote as much as I knew or could remember about each one. It sounds crazy now. The images have laid in a box for the best part of 20 years and I’ve probably never looked through them apart from when I wanted to make the Twinned website.
Objects that Jenny made a school – pottery, woodwork – became important, as did anything in her handwriting.
Most things boxed away. That is, apart from a rose.
The fragile rose bush came from Jen’s front garden, dug up the day before her funeral. It survived several house moves in the years since but never flowered apart from a couple of years ago when it enjoyed the heavy clay soil of my old place in South East London. When I moved into town in December 2014, the rose had to make do with a large pot on the patio. It wasn’t happy. It struggled through last year but didn’t make into this summer. I’m probably the culprit with my erratic watering and neglect (it was so much easier with a garden!).
So last week, I conceded it was well and truly mort and threw away the dead plant. A little sad, but I do have a lovely photo of the rose taken a couple of years ago.