On February 5, 2021 my grandmother, Barbara Ransom Krauth passed away from Parkinson's disease and COVID-19. Two weeks later, my aunt Melanie passed away from metastatic breast cancer. Since then I've observed the changes in my family's dynamics. My Mom is now the oldest living child of my grandfather, Charles Krauth. These significant changes have especially affected him. I think he tries to stay grounded in daily routines. Every morning he drinks his coffee while reading the newspaper. Then he does a crossword puzzle. Then he walks in the forest with his blue shirt, jean shorts and knee high rain boots. Then he watches television. Then he asks, "What's for supper?" And on Sundays, he goes for a drive. I've noticed that family slides and poems carry my grandma's and aunt's touch. Objects like these leave remnants of their presence that I still feel. I've also seen changes in my interpretation of light and understanding of photography as memory after these deaths occurred. Now I see light as an energy that captures moments into a tangible piece of time. Maybe it’s just coincidence, or maybe it really is their spirits speaking to me through hazy light and moments in nature that I will never unsee.
I'm trying to hold on to any part of my aunt and grandmother that might still be here. My grandmother left hidden items and notes everywhere for the rest of us to figure out. My aunt left my Mom with a last wish of keeping in touch with her kids and husband (my cousins and uncle). I like to think that certain moments in nature-- butterflies, beetles and deer, are their spirits watching over us to make sure we're figuring it out.