Tag Archives: God

Being human means that …

we open ourselves up for things that maybe, if we weren’t human, we wouldn’t otherwise know.

We open ourselves up to disappointment.

To hurt.

To humiliation.

To joy.

To love.

To faith and friendship.

To knowledge.

To trust.

These are all part of what makes us human.  Trusting, loving and relying on other humans as we try our best to make our way along this journey is part of the process.

At the end of the day, when all is said and done, what we feel, what we believe, where we put our faith … that is what is important.

People will let us down because at the core, we are are human.

None of us are perfect and none of us can be trusted implicitly.

I find myself realizing for the hundredth time how foolish I was.

It won’t make any difference the next time.

I will trust and put my faith in humans knowing in advance that it could very well be a mistake.

But we are fallible.

It is ok to be wrong.

It happens sometimes.

Being wrong about someone isn’t the end of the world.

Yes, we will cry and cry and cry.  Or at least I will.

Crying and throwing breakable things is how I best deal with disappointments.   However, until I replenish my breakable stash, crying is my most appealing option.

Nothing wrong with crying when you realize you were foolish.

But if crying is all you do, then you never move past being foolish and if you never move past being foolish, then you didn’t learn a thing.

Learn something and move on.

People will sometimes let you down.

That is part of the whole human thing and just as we have been disappointed, we will disappoint others.

It is a circle … imperfect and yet a circle just the same.

And whether we like it or not, we are human.

Live.  Love.  Rejoice.  Enjoy.  Cry.  Laugh.  Embrace.  Trust.  Live.

That is the circle.

He looked right at me and I felt his power through the lens of my camera.  I was awestruck.

He looked right at me and I felt his power through the lens of my camera. I was awestruck.

Trust …

a small word and yet it holds an incredible amount of power.

What is trust, anyway?

Mr. Webster defines it as “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something”.

Assured reliance.  

What does that mean in reality?

To me, it means being able to take someone at face value, to believe what they say, to know that I can tell them anything and not be judged, betrayed or lied to.

It is one of those things that we all look for in other people.  Things we want to believe about those we hold dear in our lives.

But is it, in reality, something that truly exists?

I suppose that it does, sometimes.

I have trusted people in my lifetime and have, on more than one occasion, learned the hard way that I misread, misconstrued, misunderstood or simply made a bad choice.

Bad choices are not obsolete.  

We all make them.

Some, more often than others.

I’m not, by nature,  a trusting person, so I give it sparingly.  I suppose that is one reason that it hurts so deeply when the confidence is betrayed and the trust destroyed.

The destruction of it leaves a hole that can’t really be filled.  It leaves me vulnerable to further mistrust and, in doing such, I may miss out on relationships that could be to my benefit.

But if I lose the ability to trust because of betrayal, where am I?

Who am I?

When someone I trusted with the innermost secrets of my heart and mind betrays me, what am I left with?

Myself.

I can trust myself and know that I will keep my  own secrets.

I don’t want to be a person who cannot trust, however, over the years, I have learned by experience.

I trust my Lord, for He has never betrayed me.

I have, on occasion, betrayed Him and yet He has stuck by me, even during the worst moments of my life.

I am starting to think that I can, other than Him, trust no-one.

It is a sad state to find oneself in, but one that many people, far too often, find themselves.

When someone can trust themselves to be everything they can be, to stand for what is good, to hold their head up in the midst of adversity and controversy, then they can say they have fought the good fight.

I am still fighting, but I am not depending on anyone to help me.

I can’t do it myself, but with God, all things are possible.

I  have been betrayed, that is true.

But I have not betrayed myself and that is of utmost importance.

What others do, they are accountable for.  I will stand for myself and cling to what I know to be true.

In the end, I will be standing on the rock and as long as I stand on the rock, the uncertainly of the world cannot touch me.

On this certainty, I can rely.

Little else, once all the obstacles are cleared away, matters.

I am who I was created to be and while I am constantly evolving, learning and making strides, I will make mistakes.

That is the beauty of being human that saves us all from the burden of perfection.

Learning the hard lessons is what makes us stronger today than we were before;  without them, we would always be the same and I can’t think of a worse fate than always being what I was.

Be well, dream big, live every moment and know that you are cherished by One who will not let you down, not even when you deserve it.

And be trustworthy.

Be the one that can be trusted and counted on to accept, without judgement or deceit, that which is willingly given to you.

It’s important.

Love is the most powerful of emotions

Love and trust are the most powerful of emotions

Love’s like a hurricane, I am a tree …

bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy.

Unequivocally, my favorite line of any song I have ever heard.

A bold statement, yes, I know, especially considering that I have heard thousands and thousands of songs in the decades of my life.

It doesn’t change this revelation in the least.  I first heard this song less than 72 hours ago.  It has been around for a while.  As a matter of fact, it was released eight years ago on my birthday.

I had to know more about who wrote words that surpassed any I have ever heard.  Maybe they struck a chord in me because I have a deep love and respect for trees and, on occasion, imagine myself to be one; swaying in the wind, basking in the sun, playing in the moonlight beneath a sky bursting with stars.

Being a seeker of knowledge, I went in search of answers.

The song was written by an independent singer/songwriter named John Mark McMillan.  In an interview, he says that he wrote this the day after his best friend died after sustaining injuries in a terrible car accident.  In the same interview, he tells of his friend, Stephen Coffey, a youth minister for Morning Star Ministries who said aloud the words “I would give my life today if it would shake the youth of the nation” the morning before the accident.

John Mark wrote the song the next day.  He says that the love he is singing about is not a pretty “Hollywood  hot-pink” love, but the kind of love that is willing to love even when things are difficult and messy.  He goes on to say that  “This song isn’t a celebration of weakness and anger.  It’s a celebration of a God who would want to hang with us through those things, who would want to be a part of our lives through those things, and,despite who we are, He would want to be a part of us, our community and our family”.

I have listened to this song at least 200 times since I first heard it.  I am listening to it now.  I cannot pull myself away from what it says to me, how it makes me feel, where it takes me.

I imagine, before the anniversary of the song’s release, (on my birthday), I will listen to it several hundred more times.  I know every note, every sound, every pitch, every word and I hold them deep inside of me.

They make me want to sing; the make me want to cry.  But not tears of sadness, but ones of joy and celebration that even with all my imperfectness, I am loved and cherished by a Savior that I adore.

I have taken the blinders from my eyes, the plastic wrap from my mirrors and have embraced life with a fullness and freedom that I have never quite been able to achieve.

The freedom to love, to be loved, to seek and, in seeking, expect to find.

I will never be the same again and that may be one of the most beautiful gifts I have ever been given.

I’m putting a link to John Mark’s version.  I have heard several artists sing it in the last couple of days, but this version, his version, is by far my favorite.

John Mark McMillan ~ How He Loves ….

John Mark’s song-story …

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When October goes …

there is an emptiness.  A change in the air, the sky, the trees, the grass, the morning, that reminds us that time is passing.

In a few short weeks, it will be winter and before that even, all of the color of Autumn will be gone.  The trees will become bare, the landscape brown, colorless and bleak, but …

In those long months of seemingly colorless moments, there is a beauty that can only be found in Winter.

Just as each season has its own to offer, Winter is no different.

The trees will be bare of leaves and standing tall and proud, naked sentries during the cold and dreary months of winter.

And then there is snow.

Snow cannot be discounted as one of the most marvelous sights of all creation.

Mornings quieted under a blanket of white that transcends all rational thought.  How can something be so silent and still be so beautiful?

The sound of snow falling, the soft “pfft” it makes as it falls, one flake upon another until there are inches to be measured, is a sound of solace.

solitude

It reminds me a bit of a piano.  It is no secret that I love the piano and have a deep and awe-inspired respect for piano players.  And the snow, as it makes its soft sound while falling makes music that nothing else in nature can duplicate.

I look forward to the snow, laying heavy on the bare branches of the trees, covering the brown grass and leaving the road white, tire and animal tracks evident in its otherwise malevolent stillness.

October is gone, November is here and before we can be fully accustomed to the cold of winter, the tulips of spring will be blooming.

Mother Nature will have her turn again come springtime, but the here and now belongs to Old Man Winter.

He is a shrewd and unpredictable one and I tend to think he likes it that way.

Although October has officially ended, I feel the need to share one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite artists just to make it official.

Enjoy the remnants of Autumn, relish every day, live every moment and take nothing for granted.

There is, after all, no promise of another day so in actuality, this may very well be the last one.

Look at it, really look at it and see the beauty that surrounds you.  There will never be a moment exactly like the one we are in now.  Time marches on.

That is what time does.  Don’t hold its nature against it.  Instead, embrace it and enjoy each segment as though it were the last.

There can, if each moment is enjoyed and embraced, be no regrets for a life not lived.

Until next time, be well, my friends … be well.

When the wheel never stops turning …

life can become more of a trial than a joy.

The thought process becomes so discombobulated with the inundation of information and images that simply focusing on what is relevant becomes a near impossibility.

My family and friends know that some of my blogs are about them.  They are about life as I live it, so how could they not be?

This particular blog is about photographs that aren’t my own; photographs I want to take.

It is about images I want to see with my own eyes, not through someone else’s.

It is about the words that surround the images.

It is about the music I play that enhances the images and the words that describe them.

It is about the the things I dream of.

These statements alone make me sound like some kind of fanatic, but I’m not a fanatic.

I am a photographer.

I am a writer.

I am (somewhere in my soul) a musician.

I want to see, write and hear for myself.

Experience the heat, the cold, the adrenaline, the magic, the music, the inspiration, the awe.

I work for a living so that I can traipse around to places I want to see, photograph them and then write about them.

It may sound as though I am putting down the importance of nursing, something I have done for 25 years.

I’m not.

Just today, a patient made me cry when he told me that I was a bright spot in his day and he looked forward to my visits more than he did meal-time.

If you have ever been in the hospital, you know that meal-time is one of the highlights, and so I felt very moved.

But I wanted, more than to speak with him and encourage him, to photograph him.

I have been on a photographic journey, teaching myself, learning from others, finding God in the creation He so beautifully paints, for more than 30 years.

It is my center.  My sense of self.

My life is made up of images.  They rotate through my head like a never-ending carousel .

Image after image after image after image.

And the words.

Mrs. Campbell in eleventh grade gave me the courage to have  confidence in my words.

She was my favorite teacher and the one, above all, that I remember the most.

And yet, I digress. (But thanks, Mrs. C)

I can’t even begin to explain, with all of my words, what the words, when coupled with the images, does to me.

It shatters me on a level that is the most perfect shattering a person could ever hope for.

I wonder sometimes if I am vain.  I certainly don’t think much of myself, so that kind of vanity is out, but the images … I like them.  I want others to like them.  I desire, not to be famous, or even rich, but to simply be able to live out my life doing what I love.

I don’t think that is too much to ask, but therein lies the vanity.

I look at myself and see nothing special … I look at the images I see through the eyes God gave me and I see great things.

I don’t mind, particularly, sleeping in my car.  I don’t need much more than toast-chee crackers and an occasional diet Dr. Pepper.

But I need to see.

To experience.

To feel.

I want to know what a North Dakota winter looks like, what a New Orleans Summer smells like, what driving along the coast road from California to Washington State feels like.

I want to see the beauty, to feel the air, to see the endless flat road of Kansas extending out in front of me.

I want to taste the fog of San Francisco and breathe the vastness of a Montana sky.

I used to think that I wanted too much, but a wise woman (my mamaw Daphne) told me “some people want the simple and others want the extravagant  … wanting is wanting whatever the dream may be”.

She taught me to not be ashamed to want the things I want and dream for the things of which I dream.

If I can see the things I want to see, I won’t need others to show them to me and if I can play the piano myself, I won’t long for someone else to play for me.

So my dreams are this … to see my country and then see Ireland, to play the piano and to have a jeep, preferably red .

That is the extent of the the dreams I have for myself …

I have much deeper and greater dreams for those I love and cherish, but myself?  It is the simple things that stir my heart.

I have hope.

I have faith.

Nothing else is required.

It will happen when it happens.

And it will happen.  Of that, I am certain.

Until next time, be well, my friends … be well.

And don’t forget to dream.

flowersfornini

Picking and culling …

is a real pain in the nether regions.

I’ve been going through things in my house today, what to keep, what to trash and I find that there are really very few things I have any use for.

It seems that the most important things to me are my photo albums, laptop, external hard drive, camera, national geographics, 1000 places to see before I die book, coffee grinder, a portrait I drew of my dad as an Airman, the photos my daughter and nieces have drawn through the years, a blown glass wine cork and my lava lamp.

When it comes down to it, that, out of a houseful of useless things, doesn’t amount to much.

I suppose, if I needed to, I could easily put all my “treasures” in a garbage bag and live happily under a bridge.

I like hot showers, though, so that might pose an oppositional equation.

I have friends and family who have things that they treasure.  I don’t really treasure anything.

Not anything I can hold in my hand.

They are just things.

The objects I treasure aren’t objects one can take off the shelf and admire … they aren’t really objects at all.

God.

Creation.

Friends.

Family.

Loyalty.

Music.

Words.

One can’t own this stuff.  They can simply be a part of the magnificence as it as unfolds, one day into the next.

I didn’t mean to have an epiphany while cleaning house and doing laundry, but it just happened.

I had the chance to drive across the Hoover Dam back when you could drive across it … and drive through the desert to get there.

I had the chance to stand before the Lincoln Memorial and know that I was living a dream.

I have so many places I want to see, so much of creation that is only a picture in my mind, not one imprinted on my soul for I have not seen it for myself.

I want to.

That is what I want to hold onto.

The dreams of what can be accomplished, what can be sought after, what can be found simply by following the imagination.

I have things that my late husband gave me.  They are good for nothing but reminders.

The memories are in my heart and mind and soul.

I’m not really big on memories as it seems the difficult ones, the hard ones … they are the ones that come to mind.

I have to work to bring up the good ones.

So I’m culling more than picking … and I feel good about that.

Someone I admire a great deal …

likely much more than is good for me …

once told me they occasionally live a John Denver kind of life … I’m going to try to be more John Denver-ish myself.

I will have the courage to submit my book, my poems, my photographs.

I will have the courage to feed my wanderlust and see the place I long to see.

I will simply have courage.

I earn a paycheck as a nurse, it is true, but in my heart, I am more and, at the same time less.

I only have so many years to live.

What is that song?  100 years?

There is no point in deluding myself that I will ever make it to a hundred years old.

Why wait?

Why indeed?

The innumerable stars of the sky

The innumerable stars of the sky

Love is the most powerful of emotions

Love is the most powerful of emotions

Through Abby's eyes ... i miss this sweet girl

Through Abby’s eyes … i miss this sweet girl

Learning from Gracie as she contines to grow …

is an experience in humility.

She has Down’s Syndrome, but you wouldn’t know it by listening to or watching her.

She runs, plays, swing, argues, wrestles, loves, hugs, manipulates and somehow ends up being the center of attention wherever she goes simply because she has a larger than life personality.

She knows what she wants and how to get it.

Usually by putting her innocent-looking, pixie-faced, tinkerbell eyes on her Papaw.

He can deny her nothing.  He says he can, but he can’t.

Or maybe won’t is the better way to say it.

She has him wrapped as tight as Dick’s hatband around her little finger, her forefinger, her middle finger, her thumb.

He is wrapped.

Period.

Ice cream, Papaw.

Okay.

Pretzels, Papaw.

Okay.

Murder the neighbor and bury them in Louisa’s spring, Papaw.

Okay.

It is a joy to watch her as she learns to manipulate the ones she knows are easy marks.

I, on occasion, an am easy mark, but for the most part, she knows that Nini means business and expects her to act like a human child; but even I have my limitations when she flashes that smile and says “I love you, Nini”.

I am, after all,  human.

She is growing up so fast.

It seems like only moments ago that she was in the NICU with lines and tubes and a tiny body that looked as though it would break with a look and shatter with a touch.

But she passed the shatter stage a while back.

She is a pistol, is our Gracie, and as tough as nails.

She doesn’t take no for an answer, asks a million questions one after the other and could give Flash Gordon a run for his money when she feels like it.

I think we have all chased her (and lost) at some point, while she laughs and skips and eludes our efforts to catch her.

She is a bit like the gingerbread man.  Catch me if you can, she says, knowing we are too slow to be any real threat.

She went back to school this week and loved on all her classmates as though they had been cruelly separated for years.

I don’t know much about anything but I know this … a hug from Gracie can make the worst day, the most difficult moment, the hardest trial seem as nothing.

She has way about her.  A being, an aura, a spirit … call it what you will, but it is irresistible and it is life-altering.

She has a way of making you feel, at the moment, as though you are the most important thing in the world; and the ability to make you believe it unequivocally.

I cannot imagine, and will not imagine a world without Gracie for it would, without doubt, irrevocably break my spirit.

She is the epitome of sunshine.  I’m pretty sure when Jimmy Davis and Charles Mitchell wrote “you are my sunshine”, they did so because they had a premonition about Gracie.  God is cool that way.

She is a bright spot in the lives of everyone she come across.

It would be my great pleasure for all of my friends to meet her, to know her and to benefit greatly from one of her “I love you even if you are an idiot” hugs.

She doesn’t take into account how smart, how talented, how boring, how nerdy, how geeky, how crazy, how messed up, how depressed, how out of touch or how indifferent you are.

She changes lives, just by being, by smiling, by living.

A smile from Gracie, unless you are the devil  himself, will melt you like warm chocolate.

She is, unto herself, an entity.

There really is no way to avoid the beauty that enters your person when she hugs you tightly and puts her little face into your neck.

She is a gift from God.  A simple truth.

She sees life and people  in one dimension and that is unbiased love.  She doesn’t understand anything else (except the occasional temper tantrum that makes the Kraken look like a goldfish).

But we’ll save that tidbit for another day.

For now, by proxy, be encouraged by Gracie. She is a power to be reckoned with and it is wonderful to be a part of this precious child’s life.

“It’s Nini” she says, as she runs with her arms outstretched to me.  Every other thought in my head dissolves for it has no power against such beauty.

I am thankful for her.  I am grateful for her.  I am indebted to her.

May God continue to bless our sweet Gracie.

She is beautiful and she makes everything and everyone around her beautiful as well.

like a mermaid, she take to the ocean ... free and beautiful

like a mermaid, she takes to the ocean … free and beautiful

no matter where she goes, she will always be her daddy’s girl

Sometimes, only a papaw will do …

When God gives one a heart of compassion …

it is understood that it will get broken.

There is no way around it.

I am still learning this.

I find that is is both  an honor and a privilege to watch the end of life come to pass.

It isn’t easy nor can it be considered pleasant, but it is a part of life that not everyone gets to see.

The living years is what most of us look for, find pleasure in and hope to be a part of.

But to be present when a spirit leaves this world is nothing short of amazing.

The last breath.

The last heartbeat.

The last moment.

I cannot help but cry for it is, in it’s way, very sad … and yet, when there was suffering, it is also a comfort.

I try, in my weak way, to console the ones left behind, but at that particular moment, there really are no words to say.

I can only be there, in the background, in the edges of the moment, to hold a hand or wrap my arm around those who need the contact.

I’m not, by nature, a hugger or toucher.

It doesn’t really come naturally to me as it does to true nurturers … and yet, I find myself being pulled into the emotion.

It is difficult, but I cannot turn them away.

Not in their moment of need.

Maybe I am weak. But if I can offer some bit of strength in their moment of weakness, then my strength has been made manifest.

I can do, for this moment, what I have learned through experience to do.  Not book experience, or clinical experience, but life experience.

I understand loss, especially unexpected loss that blindsides you and leaves you reeling from words left unsaid.

It is what it is and there are no do-overs.

It is enough to know that you loved someone while they lived in a way that they knew, unconditionally, that they were loved.

It is enough.

Move forward as you can, but whatever the cost, move forward.

To remain where you are, in grief and sorrow is the last thing in the world the one you lost would want.

Don”t be afraid to live.

If you aren’t afraid to live, then when your time comes, you won’t be afraid to die.

It is a circle.

Don’t break it.

Sometimes, for reasons I can’t explain …

I cry.

And then, when I go to work, which unfortunately, I have to, I cry there too.

I try to hide it, but sometimes, it is obviously, due to the questions and odd looks, evident, for I am questioned.

Or maybe mentally assaulted is the better description.

Have you been crying?

What have you been crying about?

What’s wrong?

Why yes, I want to say … I have been crying nearly inconsolably for absolutely no reason at all.

None.

I have broken things that I don’t really care about, deleted things that I did and find myself on the outside of everything I hold dear to my heart … but that is simply a byproduct.

Just forty-eight hours ago, I was manic and driving 90 miles a hour to keep up with my thoughts.

But there were no tears.

Only euphoria.

But now, I cry just to be crying.

One jag after another until I have a headache and nothing, other than red and swollen eyes, to show for it.

I cry at song lyrics, at the rebuff from a friend, because the light turned red, for the homeless man I saw at the intersection.

I have no control over it.

I want to, but it is beyond what I am capable of.

For whatever reason, it pisses people off when you tell them you don’t know what you are crying about.

What?

Do they never, ever, ever cry without a reason?

Really?  Do they actually expect people to believe that?

Don’t worry, though, not everyone who swings between euphoria, ecstasy, and suddenly in the dredges of despair but still thinking in terms of the ecstasy factor, is nuts.

A few of us hold a golden trophy with our bipolar names on it, but not everyone.

It isn’t contagious.  Remember that.

It.

Isn’t.

Contagious.

And the oddness of it, in itself, is, in that in itself, there is oddness.

They want to know why.

There isn’t a why.

They want to know what about.

There isn’t a what about.

I used a gallon of the “it get’s the red out” Visine today.  A useless fluid that burns the eyes and does little to hide the fact that I was crying about nothing in particular.

Why is it so important to have something to cry about.  There are moments, such as the one I am currently in, that I cry because I simply can’t stop it.

I could make up stuff to cry about, but I shouldn’t have to.

I should be able to maneuver though this stage of my, what should I call it?, psychosis? without being put on the spot to try to explain the unexplainable.

Maybe I should start telling people I have a hangover.  Maybe that would be more well received than the response of I’m not crying about anything in particular, I’m just crying.

Because I’m nuts.

That always goes over well.

I’m nuts.

Does that soothe your mind?   Always have been and have little hope of being otherwise.

Sometimes I cry.

Get used to it or get over it.

If I am very lucky, it will only last a day or two and I can go back to being simply, though wonderfully, semi-manic.

I can assure you, it is much preferred.

I don’t get to the crying stage very often, praise the Good Lord, but when I do, I’m there.

Nothing that can be said, no pats on the head or uninvited and unwanted hugs can change it.

It is what it is.  Those who feel this way from time to time know, without a shadow of a doubt the sheer amount of courage it takes to move from one minute, one hour, one day into the other.

The rest of you … I will always be an enigma and I am tired of trying to explain it.

It is what it is and that is simply the way of it.

It doesn’t change who I am because this, accepted or not, is who I am.

If you know me you already know that.

If you don’t, you never will.

No hard feelings.

Tomorrow is a brand new day.

a light shining in the darkness, whether in day or night, is a grand thing.

a light shining in the darkness, whether in day or night, is a grand thing.

James Taylor sang …

“I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain …” he saw sunny days that he thought would never end.

I feel that way sometimes.

Like the sun will last forever and the foreboding darkness of an impending storm will elude me and deprive me of the comfort that only such an awe-inspiring event of God-created nature can bring.

I found myself today in the company of a family who was waiting for their mother to die.

I have spent an hour or so with them every day for the past couple of weeks and have come to know them, to care about them, to love them.

I’ve seen photographs of their children and grandchildren, of weddings and birthday parties.

I’ve seen faces with smiles that don’t quite reach the eyes because there was worry there.

A sadness.

A knowing.

A sorrow for what was to come.

I didn’t want to go into that room today.  I wanted to be a coward and take the coward’s way out and simply say that they were unavailable.

It would have been a lie, though, even if only to myself.

One that would settle smoothly at the time and then plague me in the wee hours as I remembered the fear, sorrow and sense of hopelessness on the faces that I was trying so hard to comfort.

So I went into the room I didn’t want to go in, sat with people I had come to know and love and waited with them while their mother took her last breath.

It was humbling to be accepted into this place of sorrow and grief as though I was one of them.

I have sat with them, held their hands, cried with them, prayed with them and now, I mourn for them.

It was obvious, when I went to visit them today, that the time was limited.  While I didn’t want to bring negative connotations to an already tense situation, I advised them to call any other family members who should be there to come to be with them.

Maybe I overstepped my bounds.  No, there is no maybe about it, I did overstep them.  But in my nearly thirty years as a nurse, I haven’t always played by the rules.

Sometimes I play by the heart, which often breaks the rules.

But over the years, I have seen death enough to know what it looks like.

I couldn’t live with the knowledge that there were ones that I had met and bonded with before that weren’t there now when the moment they had been dreading, avoiding, rationalizing, but knew was impending, had come.

I felt like a traitor.  Like someone who had come only to say that this is it.

The last hoorah.

The final moments of a life well lived.

I stood in the corner while the family stood around the bed, each one with their hand on the one they loved so dearly, as she took her last breath and left this world.

Before she did, she opened her eyes, something she hadn’t done in days, and looked directly at each one present; saying goodbye, farewell, move on, don’t cry.

Silent tears ran down my face as I watched them watch her as her soul departed from her ravaged body.

I remembered thinking how I wish my Jim had someone with him when he died.  And then I remember how much of a loner he was.  Even with me, he was alone.  I wonder now if he was glad that he was alone when he died.  Glad that he didn’t have to see the fear and sorrow on a face that would wish him to go on when he couldn’t, or maybe simply didn’t want to.

I don’t mourn him anymore.  I think of him and of the life we shared, but I have let him go.  He is a dear and well-loved memory, but not an anchor to weigh me down.  That can bring good to no-one.  And I believe it would sadden him if he thought that his death had broken my spirit.

I slipped out of the room, unnoticed, by the family.  There was nothing else I do, nothing else I could offer; no words I could say to comfort them in that moment.

Trying to do so would be futile and would, I feared, break the trust that they had placed in me to understand them in their moment of weakness.

I had given them my heart, which was now breaking for each one of them.  My tears won’t help them anymore than their own will.

I hope for them, this night, peace in the knowledge that they not only loved, with such passion, their mother, sister, grandmother, wife … but that she knew, with every ounce of her being, that they did.

I like to think that knowing that you gave everything you had to someone you loved is enough to sustain them at their last moments.

I will cry myself to sleep tonight for a family I didn’t know just two weeks ago, a family now broken and irrevocably changed.

I will photograph the living and mourn the dead.  This is the life, while I may not have chosen willingly, was given to me to live.

If my heart shatters a bit in order to bring comfort to another, then it was pain well spent.

I will live it the best I am able, deal with it when I can, falter when I can’t and then remember, while trying to remind others, that even when it doesn’t seem so, life goes on.

There isn’t, really, any more anyone can do other than the best they can.

And then, you move on, for if you don’t move forward, there isn’t any hope and hope is, and will always be, one of the most wonderful things life has to offer.

Without hope, there isn’t anything left.  So hope.  Seek happiness in the face of sorrow.  Find beauty in the midst of sorrow and disaster and know, beyond all else that hope is a good thing … and no good thing, as long as there are people who remember what was, never really dies.

Love is the most powerful of emotions

Love is the most powerful of emotions

soulful eyes

soulful eyes