How a Digital Photo Frame Helps Me Remember my Dad

by Barrett

I’ve set up a photo gallery of my father’s life on this digital photo frame. It’s powered up next to me at my desk and rotates through his images across the years.

My father is gone. I knew this day would eventually come, but I was still entirely unprepared for the terrible moment when it arrived.

He passed away on December 15th. While he wasn’t in the best of shape, his death was sudden and a surprise. He was in rehab at the time and was medically stable. The nurse had just been in to see him. When she came back, he wasn’t there anymore.

That was it.

My dad always liked to play by his own rules. So, it feels appropriate that he left this world on his own terms. He had always told me that he wanted to die in his sleep. This seemed pretty close. He wasn’t in pain, and it was quick.

He was 89. (Here’s his obituary.)

My father had a full life, and throughout his 80s he often told me that he didn’t expect that he would be sticking around that long. He also said in recent years that he was okay with passing on, because he had enjoyed his life.

Donald Lester had “lived.”

One Last Present
A week before he died, I ordered a digital photo frame to give him for the holidays. My plan was to set it up in his rehab room to share some family photos with him.

After my success placing an Amazon Echo Dot Wi-Fi speaker next to his bedside so his could listen to his favorite tunes from the ‘40s and ‘50s, this was to be my next step. I wanted to provide a little more personal tech support to help make his time away from home more comfortable.

Plus, my father loved technology. (I got that from him.) I knew he’d get a kick out of the digital photo frame.

But I never got the chance to give it to my dad.

A Different Use
So, the Nixplay frame sat in its unopened box on the floor of my home office. I’ve been wondering what to do it with. Of course, I knew I could send it back.

Instead, I’ve decided to hold onto it.

I would finish what I had set out to do… but with a modified purpose. I would still load it with family photos, but with pictures of him… for me.

His Pictures Tell his Story
I powered up the digital frame, and it’s now in place on a shelf by my desk.

It glows warmly with images of my father and cycles through his photos across the years. It’s one way to keep his story alive.

He was a born-and-bred New Yorker. He traveled the world including Africa and into the Amazon rain forest. He had his suits tailored from Hong Kong, and he loved to wear his bowlers and straw hats. And he was a life-long Yankees fan.

He was a real character.

A Digital Candle
I think setting up this digital frame near me is also a way to help me process all of this.

As you might imagine, there’s been a lot ‘to do’ over these past weeks. I haven’t had much time to truly feel the impact. The loss. As that happens in the months ahead, this frame will serve as a comforting support for me and my family.

It’s a little candle for me.

Holding onto the Memories
Over the past months, I’ve been slowly digitizing some of the photos that my mother had placed in thick albums decades ago when I was growing up. She was the family archivist. (I can’t believe it’s already been 16 years since she passed.)

Moving forward, of course I’ll continue my family-photo archiving project. And I’ll keep feeding the frame with images of my father throughout his life… and mine.

It’s one way to honor his memory and to help me remember the good times.

I miss you, Dad.