A photo never taken

This story was written for my Creative Writing class at Delaware County Community College.
Chris Reeder enjoying his new guitar. (Wendy Monhollan)

Chris Reeder enjoying his new guitar. (Wendy Monhollan)

I flip through family photos, but these days, it’s almost impossible to get through any album without my eyes welling up with tears. Within three years, I have lost so much. It’s almost unbearable how much my heart aches.

In January of 2009, two days after his 74th birthday, my only grandfather passed away. Exactly three weeks later, his wife and my only grandmother, passed away at 69. Then a mere seven months later, a great friend and Buccaneer family member, Geoff Silver, suddenly passed away.

This alone seems like enough to demolish anyone’s spirit and sanity. But even after all that, it wasn’t the hardest toll on me. In July of 2007, I lost my one and only sibling. My brother Chris, was only 29 when I lost him from my life.

I look through the photos, and stop to take a look at a picture of Chris doing what he loved to do: firefighting. He loved it. How much? Enough that he was a part of several different Fire Departments from here all the way down to Maryland.

I think about the picture and flip through a couple more pages. I can’t find what I want to see. It’s a photo that was never taken. One that never will be taken. We never got a picture of Chris in his dress uniform.

I imagine in my mind would it would look like. It would have been a dashing picture of him, looking as handsome as ever. His eyes, full of life, sparkle with happiness and pride: Happiness that he’s doing something that he enjoys; Pride that he makes a difference in the world by helping people and the pride only a father can feel while watching his two beautiful daughters grow up.

Chris loved firefighting, being an EMT, the Flyers and being a father, son and brother. This picture would have encompassed one of his many passions.

I regret not having that picture. It would have meant the world to me to see him in that uniform.

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Categories: Short Stories

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