a broken road, a mighty God and a multitude of blessings…

It is hard for me to believe that nearly a year has passed since I came home from work to find that my sweet Jim had died.  Although it was obvious that he didn’t suffer, simply by the lack of struggle evident in the room, (that was  and continues to be such an incredible blessing) the shock of finding him that way shook me to the core.  I have relived that moment a million times, that moment of opening the door and seeing him with his head on his little table, thinking for a split second that he was sleeping and then knowing immediately that he was not.  I have found, through this past year, that there is no one like Jim.  He would get excited over the tiniest event, clap his hands each time I would call out “I sold a card”, look at me and see beyond what his eyes could see and speak right to my heart, making me feel beautiful and special… he would tell me how late it’s gotten and that I should go to bed and not say a word when I refused to eat my favorite food because, for some reason, I now hated it, and most profoundly,  clasp hands with me as we prayed together every night.  He encouraged Taylor to get involved in the band and her life was changed, for the better, because of it. Not a day goes by that I don’t thank God for sending this beautiful soul into my life.  We were two spirits, bruised and battered by life, but not broken, scarred but not shattered and, ultimately, tied by the bond of love, first for our Father, and then for each other… (I will always carry the image of standing at the alter with him as we exchanged our vows,  and looking out the window to see the lone bagpiper walking through the cemetery… the one where Jim is now buried…) and through that love, God spoke to both of us and helped us grow as Christians, as people, as family… He used us independently to heal one another and to grow closer to Jesus… to actively seek the divine will of God. Jim had no family to speak of, so he adopted mine and loved them as much as he would have his own…  He had great respect for my parents and, though it took some getting used to for him, being a city boy and all, he loved living in the country…  I spent hours, days, weeks crying and mourning… I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat and I had no desire (which frightened me a bit) to photograph anything.  There were months when not a single greeting card was created, I went through Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, birthdays, vacation, big winter snows, an incredible spring, flooding summer rains, births, deaths and re-awakenings… all without the man who helped me to see myself as one of God’s creatures and to trust, without hesitation, in the power of faith.  Now, the year of firsts is nearly over and I find, that of all the things I have faced over the past  year, the anniversary of his death has me trembling.  I realize now that I have deluded myself into believing that once the year was up, there would be some veil that would lift from my heart and I could go forward, knowing that I had made it through the “firsts”.  But, that was a lie… for there are so many other firsts that I will face if God sees fit to leave me on this earth.  If He so wills it, I will go to Ecuador to photograph the people and the places there… I think how excited Jim would be for me and the tears pour from my eyes…  He understood so well how much photographing God’s people and creation meant to me and he prayed, as did I, that God’s will would be done and that if He saw fit, I could see His magnificent creation Through the Eyes of the Spirit when I looked through the lens of my Pentax that He provided for me… It is so hard sometimes to look at photographs I’ve taken and not have him to share them with… not have his dry wit and helpful criticism to help me grow, both as a photographer and a person.  I thought, that as the anniversary of his death drew near, I would begin to relax and fall into some kind of pattern that I could find comfort in… but the things I found comfort in don’t feel the same now that Jim is not here to share them with me.  My heart is breaking all over again as I face this last moment… one we did not share… and though tears blur my vision, I know that the beautiful Holy Spirit will guide me through the pitfalls, triumphs and failures of this life…  and I will go forward bold and confident, knowing that my God has a plan for me… but I will still miss my Jamie… te amo my dear one…

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