“Pictures hide the hard,” wrote the mother of a son with special needs under the Instagram photo of his smiling face.
The truth of her words struck me.
In this digital media age where everything between the mundane and magnificent moments of our daily lives are shared for the world to see, we often forget the hard that’s hidden behind many of these photos. But we also may miss the happiness, hope, or other deep human emotions behind them.
- The deep emotional pain behind the seemingly confident smile in a teen’s selfie, a teen who’s been caring for his dad with MS since he was a boy.
- The deep joy of a grandmother holding her new grandson — juxtaposed with the fresh grief of losing her husband.
- The deep confusion behind the eyes of a loved one in the final stages of Alzheimer’s.
- The deep relief of a father caring for his son after a painful surgery.
- The deep hope behind the smile of a young mom newly diagnosed with cancer — juxtaposed with the fear of the future for her two-year-old, a future that may not include her.
- The deep delight of a great-grandchild hugging his great- grandfather after years of being apart.
Every picture tells a story, and when it comes to photos of the people for whom we are caregivers, we may find by opening the conversation about those stories, we the caregivers — and the listeners — may find healing and hope, compassion and connection.
Throughout the month of May, our team will be sharing the stories behind a variety of caregiving photos, and we want you to share yours as well. Follow our social media networks — Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn — and use the hashtags #StoryBehindPhoto and #CaregivingAdvice to mark your posts. We may also feature a few of these stories and images on our Voices blog here on the site.