that which we leave behind

This weekend began the process of cleaning out my aunt's home. She lived in the same house her entire life, from childhood until the day she died. I don't know if she ever wanted to move, or if she was ever offered the opportunity. I wish I could ask about her about things she may have wanted but never had. Whether marriage and children were dreams of hers left unrealized or if she happily took a different path from the beginning. I have a feeling I know what she'd say, but that's not the type of question with a clear cut answer, is it? I have no doubt her answer would be the same way. But her life was never lacking in love. I hope she knew that.

However she may have felt, her lack of familial and housing expenses left an abundance of time and disposable income. My aunt was a woman of unquestionable style. Chanel and Prada were here typical designers of choice. A timeless flat or loafer, elegant blazers and blouses tailored to a T, a classic red lip every time. Her signature greeting was always a giant kiss on the check leaving a perfectly outlined lipstick mark that seemed to tattoo itself onto my skin in seconds. Young or old, everyone received the famous cheek kiss. Trying to subtly wipe the mark off just left it smeared and looking like a hot flash. Nobody ever had the heart or desire to go into the bathroom and clean it off thoroughly. My cousins and I learned at a young age that once you've been branded, you wear the cheek kiss proudly until the day is over. I will miss this small but loving gesture immensely. 

With all that being said, the sheer amount of designer items in her house would probably leave one both shocked and envious. The still-packaged purses, sunglasses, and belts alone could probably pay back the entirety of my student loans. I do not know what my family intends on doing with all of these items but I honestly do not really care all that much. It is not that I do not appreciate heirlooms or memories. It is quite the opposite. My closet is filled with boxes of photos, letters, and trinkets either saved or given to me. I have a hard time throwing things away, especially when they provoke even the slightest significance. It's part of the reason I love taking pictures so much (most of which will end up here eventually). I love memories. I feel that I was born with nostalgia in my veins. I love to look back and remember. In a strange way, it helps me acknowledge the moment. But I'm not one for the fancy things. Ancient Egyptians believed in burying people with their most precious treasures to allow them to be taken over with the deceased. But those tombs were discovered thousands of years later with those same treasures sitting right where they'd been left. When I am gone, I hope to leave behind things that cannot be bought. Photos and words that ring back to special moments. I hope the items I leave behind were kept because of emotional significance. Don't get my wrong, I am not above the idea of hocking a couple of Gucci purses for bills that need to get paid. All I mean is that even the few photos I've been given of my dear aunt mean more to me than anything that can be purchased. 

always stylish, no matter the place.

my favorite of the bunch. I love everything about this photo.

my mom and aunt in the backyard of the house my grandparents built together.

her outfit makes me think this was an important day. her face makes me think it was an exciting one, too.

a vision of timelessness and glamour.