After my mother's death over ten years ago, I gradually lost contact with her side of the family. I learned later that my father invited one of her brothers to visit; they went through the house and methodically cleaned out many of my mother's personal items. My father never told me about the visit; I found out, off-hand, from someone else. I realized, later, that this was deliberate--so that I could not lay claim on anything of hers. As it happens, I have very little of hers now, anyway, and nothing from her family.
Except the photographs that I made. I look back on them now and realize that they were, indeed, quite passable. "Not a bad shot, by a fifteen-year-old," I tell myself. I was obsessed with the photographic image. My obsession belied my technique: I framed the scene quickly in my mind, aimed, shot, and hoped for the best. In the end, that's all that many of us have to go on.... or all that we are left to carry with us.