Keep This Love in a Photograph…

Loving can hurt
Loving can hurt sometimes
But it’s the only thing that I know
When it gets hard
You know it can get hard sometimes
It is the only thing that makes us feel alive

~ ED SHEERAN (Photograph)

Love is such a powerful yet fragile thing… a conundrum, really. It’s a bullet with butterfly wings. In Photograph, Ed Sheeran sings about the perfection of the photograph—the happy moments caught forever in a snapshot—and he kind of implies that we never see the other parts of love in that photo, the parts that hurt and scar and tear you to ribbons. The ugly parts.

We keep this love in a photograph
We made these memories for ourselves
Where our eyes are never closing
Hearts are never broken
Times forever frozen still

~ ED SHEERAN (Photograph)

Our hearts are never broken in the photographs we take, because photographs are for the happy times… the minutiae moments in between the hard and trying bits. We will never hear someone say, “Hold those tears! This is a Kodak moment.”

The photograph memory is a bit like the Facebook phenomenon wherein you display your happy self to the world and keep the shit to yourself. Everyone then sees one side of you and thinks, ‘Damn…he/she/they is/are so lucky!’ Only they don’t see the fractures that are slowly pulling you apart. Because Facebook = Happy Moments. It creates a vicious cycle of envy, jealousy, and falsehoods. It’s not real life. Real life isn’t only the photographs and it isn’t only the happy Facebook status updates. It’s also comprised of those unsnapped moments, the ones we don’t keep for posterity.

I began writing this blog post some two weeks ago, but I had no idea where I was going with it. So, I kept it in my Draft folder. Now I can use it.

Sometimes–without the photographs to remind us–we only remember the bad parts. We keep this love in a photograph. There’s a reason why the good stages of love can be found in that instantaneous snapshot. It’s there to jar your memory when you’re living in the dark stages of love. If you don’t pull out those photographs to remind you…you may think that all is lost. But sometimes, it isn’t.

I said goodbye to my mother last Tuesday (DAVIDA CECILIA CRAIG [nee CREAMER][Also known as DEE] March 12, 1939 – April 26th, 2016). Before seeing the photographs kept, I believed fully that all was lost. For good.

I sense that Ed Sheeran’s song is about lovers, but I think with just the odd tweak it can definitely apply to anyone. Love is, after all, universal.

So you can keep me
Inside the pocket
Of your ripped jeans
Holdin’ me closer
‘Til our eyes meet
You won’t ever be alone
Wait for me to come home

In the end, my mother did wait for me to come home. She waited for me and my baby brother to come home to her. We made the 14 hour trip in 12 hours. She woke up and had one last lucid period. In it, she said, “I did it” (meaning she made it…she waited for us just as she said she would two days earlier). She had her husband and her four children at her side…exactly how she would have wanted it. I can’t and won’t sugar-coat things. I didn’t know that was how she would have wanted it until the time had come and I was actually there. I had always imagined that she’d be happier if I wasn’t there…if she had only her three boys and her husband with her.

I had forgotten to look at the photographs. We keep this love in a photographWhere our eyes are never closing, Hearts are never broken—Times forever frozen still. I focused only on the bad parts of love, the ones we don’t photograph. The ones we ALL have. I imagined my wounds to be terminal. And in my imagining, I had lost so much.

But there is a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them…a time to tear and a time to mend…a time to be silent and a time to speak

Hearts are never broken.

My Mom, Manny (1970), Me (1966), David (1965), and my Dad… (This is circa early 1971. My baby brother, George, came along in 1972.) I would give anything to have those pants back! We keep this love in a photograph…
US – At Geordy’s wedding… WAIT FOR ME TO COME HOME…

Categorized as Life, Love

By Kevin Craig

Author, Poet, Playwright. Author of The Camino Club, Billions of Beautiful Hearts, and Book of Dreams, all from Duet Books, the LGBTQ Young Adult imprint of Chicago Review Press. Other books: Pride Must Be A Place, Half Dead & Fully Broken, Burn Baby Burn Baby, The Reasons, Sebastian's Poet, and Summer on Fire.


  1. A thoughtful and evocative ‘snapshot’ captured in words. It’s the dark threads, the messy shadows that give any work of art its depth. All light is flat and rather hard to look at, don’t you think?

    Sorry for all the heavy shadows you’ve being meeting with these days, but they do make you a masterpiece in my eyes.

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