I heard a story on This American Life once about a boy whose mother had been murdered and his stepmother had (with good intentions, according to the boy, although that's hard to imagine) removed all the photos and memories of his mother from the house. None of her recipes. No blankets she had crocheted. None of her record albums. And no photographs of her. Years later her had looked at crime scene photos in an effort to make peace with her murder. And I totally get why he did that. Sometimes I think I want to do that. It creeps other people out, but I totally get it. But what makes me sad about this boy's story is that he had forgotten what his mother looked like until he saw those photos.
There ARE days when I want to understand the crime so I want to see those pictures. But If I ever did, I would look at this before. This is my favorite picture of Leslie. This is the girl I will always remember.
But I don't think it's just people like me and the boy on the radio who should look. Look at the pictures of the person you lost. Put them on your mantle. Carry them in your wallet. Don't obsess over them, but don't hide them away. Nestle them in with the other pictures of your life. Your best friend is dead, not disappeared.
This picture was taken at my birthday party. It was a REALLY fun party, too. If she had lived, I would STILL look at this picture. The only difference is that she might pin it to her bulletin board, too. It might be on her facebook. I would click "like".