2d reference plane images disappear when I enter component mode?

how do I prevent my reference images from graying out when I’m editing my component?

Import the image as an image, not as a texture. Or if you imported it as an image, don’t explode it. If you do, it becomes a texture.

Here’s an image imported as an image and a component open for editing.

Or you could use the image as a Watermark. Insert from the Styles panel in Edit mode

Here’s an example