The last picture of Stanley

By Nancy Black

My dear friend was sobbing. She’d been purging her house this past weekend and it had stirred up a lot of emotion. Boxes had piled up, furniture got moved from one room to another, and her home was now a disaster area of clutter. But that is not what bothered her the most. What she was weeping about was a photograph she found. 

The old, cracked Kodak picture was of a man. She didn’t know who he was. But on the back of the picture, someone had written in cursive, “The last picture of Stanley.”

“I don’t even know who Stanley is!” she cried over the phone to me. “And now I’m in charge of his last picture?!”

Some people believe a person never dies as long as someone on earth remembers them. It made my sweet friend (and me) really sad to think of throwing away that last picture of Stanley. But what was she supposed to do with it? Who was she supposed to give it to? My friend doesn’t have children, so she can’t leave the last picture of Stanley to them. And she doesn’t even know who he was or how he fit into her family. 

My friend only has two choices: keep the picture or throw it away. The thought of throwing away the last picture of another human being, especially one who might be some distant relative, started my friend’s sobs again. 

It’s sad to think that one day we will be so far gone from this life that we are actually forgotten. Some would understandably keep the photo; it’s not like that last picture of Stanley takes up much room. But, on the other hand, it is important for all of us to clear our lives of clutter. It’s very freeing for the soul and creates a movement of positive energy in your life. So, perhaps old Stanley’s memory is going to be just like this editorial — it just ends.