The Chest # writephoto

They were never intended for our eyes.

They were evidence. Family secrets. A life ruined.

The Chest

Sue’s Photo Challenge

But there they were. The telltale photos.

Glued onto yellowing pages. Hidden at the bottom of the chest.

Beneath embroidered lace, sterling silver platters.

Two leather-bound albums. Both smelled of patchouli, dust and despair.

On every page, there was someone missing. He had taken the scissors and carefully cut out his face from every family photo.

It was to foretell his future.

Removed from family. Removed from life.

He just gave up.

He died alone.

My grandfather.

The chest resides in my living room.

Thursday photo prompt – The Chest… #writephoto

This entry was posted in Childhood, Depression, Family, Mental Health, Writing Prompt and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

72 Responses to The Chest # writephoto

  1. Erika Kind says:

    Dark family secrets…. good take, Van!

  2. What a tragic story. Don’t you wonder what allows a mind to follow a path such as this all the way to the end of life?

    • All my life, Doc. All my life.💔 They called it “the melancholy” in the 1930’s. He died in an institution where he spent almost 2 decades. His family, forever changed. Thanks.

  3. I enjoyed your take on it. Too many secrets in that chest, and what he sad life he led.

    • Thanks, Jacqueline. I’ve addressed it a few times, but some time I’ll write from what I believe was my father’s point of view. He lost this man, his father, at a very young age.

  4. Sue Vincent says:

    That’s a heartrending tale, Van.

  5. Just so incredibly sad… Thanks for telling such a poignant story in such few words. You’re a real poet Van!

  6. Wow, so few words and so much power in them. Sad, truly sad.

  7. Tanya Cliff says:

    Amazing piece of writing…simply heartbreaking.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Sorry to learn of such a tragic thing in your family. Straight to the heart, Van. xo

  9. George says:

    How very sad, Van.

  10. George says:

    How very sad, Van. I’m so sorry.

  11. That gave me the chills, Van. What an act of despair – to erase oneself. Beautifully told, but so terribly sad.

    • We didn’t understand those mutilated photos as children. By the time we found out, someone had carefully removed them from the albums. Lots of blank pages, lots of sad stories. Thanks, Diana. 💕

  12. My goodness, I so often think stuff like this is only in books or in the movies. Such a sad read, Van.

  13. We can choose our friends, but have to live with our families.. So many choose this lonely path.. Sorry they too have been within your family..
    Love and warm thoughts.. Enjoy your weekend Van and thank you for your lovely visit xxx

  14. You expressed this sad story in such a moving and powerful way. I’m sorry for your family’s heartache. 💛

  15. lbeth1950 says:

    Who do you think cut hm out? This is so sad.

  16. Scout says:

    This just made my heart hurt, Van. Every family has their stories, don’t they? The people who don’t survive the failure, the depression… That he had the wherewithal to physically cut himself out of the family just makes me want to bawl. You gave a very succinct snapshot here. I would love to read more about him. xo

  17. Pingback: The Chest # writephoto from vanbytheriver | Sue Vincent – Daily Echo

  18. TanGental says:

    What an awfully damaging situation. Inevitably one feels for him in his pain but my sympathies probably lie more with the innocent members of his family impacted by his illness who could but watch the spiral down.

  19. barbtaub says:

    What a sad story. When I hear something like this, though—I wonder. Yes the ending is sad, but did it only come after a long and even valiant battle against whatever darkness eventually won? How long did he fight against those forces, perhaps even long enough to give life to children? Maybe he was, in some way, a hero who just eventually fought and lost one battle too many?

    I’m so sorry that your legacy is dark, and you may never know the truth. But I’d like to believe that there was hope at some point in his life, and that the existence of his children—and his grandchildren—is the result of that.

    • A really great observation, Barb. My father was 8 when it happened, and refused to talk about it all. I believe he had the dream of all immigrants, realized for about 10 years before he lost it all, in his view. He had a devoted wife and 2 beautiful children, but the financial blow took him down. I wonder about the demons he might have battled early in life. Thanks. 💘

  20. Julian Beach says:

    A deeply moving piece. My thanks Sue Vincent for pointing me this way.

  21. Very touching Van! This is sad and lovely as well

  22. Wonderful piece of furniture. So many places old trunks can be used. I have a large one full of quilts many made in late 1800’s.
    Take care. I’m having a difficult time and throwing more pain pills doesn’t help your cognitive ability.

  23. macjam47 says:

    Oh, what a sad story. Did you know why he chose that life?

    • He was a few hundred $’s from owning his farm, his immigrant dream, when the bank foreclosed during the Great Depression of the 1930’s. He lost the farm, moved to city/steelworker’s home, lost that job. Deep depression, committed to state mental institute, died there. Hard to imagine it was a choice, he just lost hope and gave up on his family, his life.

  24. joey says:

    That’s so sad. 😦 I suppose you’ll never know what exactly prompted that.

    • Yep. My father was only 8. I know he had a very bad opinion of his father, but I’m not sure how much his mother communicated at the time. It left them devastated, but with major life lessons. Thanks, Joey.

  25. Pingback: Photo prompt round up– The Chest… #writephoto | Sue Vincent – Daily Echo

  26. lisakunk says:

    My grandmother’s photos are missing her face also. So sad.

  27. classyqueeny says:

    chilling! I like it.

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