Photos: Jessie Theresa Martin Ages 5 and 21 
I am a lover of myth and things Celtic. There is a belief in Ireland that the very air is full of wayward souls looking for a place to inhabit. There is a tradition called "saining" in which spirits are driven from objects that have "sat too long in the dark". The belief is that "sorrow and memory can be contained in matter; that an object can bear the internal life of a person. It is as if people cannot bear to be the keeper of their own souls" (Mcbride 232-233). Objects that belonged to people and were used daily by them, pictures, jewelry, a pair of shoes, a crumpled hat, an old coat, a pipe, a bit of broken pottery may contain the memory of their struggles here on earth, hence the need to "sain" or release the spirit from the object. This involved passing it through a fire to purify it with a blessing. Saining in preChristianized Ireland was originally a ritual for newborn babies although they were not passed through fire. http://www.adf.org/rituals/general/naming-and-saining.html.

Sorrow, pain and grief are real, not easily "cast out" and I believe that the body remembers them well. These physical memories share a space with the emotional and psychological memories we carry of loved ones lost and their time with us here on earth. The two photos above, as you may have guessed, are pictures of my mother, the first when she was just a little girl with all the promise of the world in front of her and the second when she was 21 and some of what she had expected from life had already begun to slip through her fingers. She is beautiful in both pictures. I lost her in a very long and difficult way in 2005, and I still have these photos in my home. I look at them every day, and I can recall when one of them fell while I was dusting, I actually apologized to the photograph saying "gosh I'm so sorry Mom". I no longer do such things. I look at the pictures, I recognize the sadness, I realize her beauty and how much of her I have in me, and I move on. I remember that I have released her with prayers of thanksgiving for her life. She would have wanted it that way. Below is a video of the Children's PS22 Chorus singing Pictures of You by The Cure. It seemed an appropriate song for this memory. Thanks for reading. Namaste to all of you who may have similar memories.

PS22 Children's Chorus Singing Pictures of You by The Cure
Pictures of You

I've been looking so long at these pictures of you
That I almost believe that they're real
I've been living so long with my pictures of you
That I almost believe that the pictures are
All I can feel

You standing quiet in the rain
As I ran to your heart to be near
And we kissed as the sky fell in
Holding you close
How I always held close in your fear
You running soft through the night
You were bigger and brighter and whiter than snow
And screamed at the make-believe
Screamed at the sky
And you finally found all your courage
To let it all go

You fallen into my arms
Crying for the death of your heart
You were stone white
So delicate
Lost in the cold
You were always so lost in the dark
You how you used to be
Slow drowned
You were angels
So much more than everything
Hold for the last time then slip away quietly
Open my eyes
But i never see anything

If only I'd thought of the right words
I could have held on to your heart
If only I'd thought of the right words
I wouldn't be breaking apart
All my pictures of you

Looking so long at these pictures of you
But i never hold on to your heart
Looking so long for the words to be true
But always just breaking apart
My pictures of you

There was nothing in the world
That I ever wanted more
Than to feel you deep in my heart
There was nothing in the world
That I ever wanted more
Than to never feel the breaking apart
All my pictures of you

*Quotations from Regina McBride are from her novel, The Nature of Water and Air.


  1. I love the quote: 'sorrow and memory can be contained in matter, etc. . . .

    I very much want to be the keeper of my soul.

    Good luck with the blog.

  2. Thank you Friko. I do to. It is from. The Nature of Water and. Air by Regina McBride. Thank you for your good wishes. Namaste to your soul

  3. dear one
    i am so fortunate you shared this with me now...

    i have pictures upon pictures of my dad
    i still
    have my mom
    and when i see her next
    i will take more
    my heart.


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