Category: Memories

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Powerful Suggestion.”

Life is complicated, at best. If we are lucky we share our lives with a handful of trustworthy people looking to do nothing more not make life any more difficult, maybe go so far as to have a few laugh, make some memories. And if we’re careful enough not to get in our own way, sometimes the good times roll. Life is way too short let the good times roll right past us because we got caught up looking for perfection in a sea in perfectly wonderful.

I often let others use my camera to capture moments in time, some planned attempt at humor, or a nice group shot. I only recently came to embrace their –full auto– mode to the point that, upon removing lens cap and handing over camera, I automatically turn the dial the to that little green rectangle that was once unfamiliar territory to me. As I’m handing over the camera, I smile and say, “already have in full auto for you.” and I’m rarely given less than a genuine, “Thank you!” in reply. I’m getting quicker about figuring out which situations are best for me to pop off my straight 50 lens and pop on something with some “wide” control on it. I don’t think about repositioning me to get people in the frame and I prefer the DOF that I get out the 50, but it’s nothing but a barrier to capturing the memory and it can even impede the fun for other people.

Does it really matter if a profile candid has background as crisp as the subject or some other object in the foreground. No. Does it matter that I ever tried to let my personal preferences on camera settings let what truly have the potential of last memories ever get in the way. YES!

Much like the kit lens that came with my camera, I needed the ability to widen my view so I could see the bigger picture. Life is about the people, the moment, the story behind the print. If I really feel like I must add something to a photo, there are a thousand different ways to add effects in post and I have all the time I care to spend tweaking sliders up and down but I’ll never get back my actual live moment.

Sometimes life is about getting over ourselves before we can find out how best we fit in or how we can make a difference in our little slice of society. I’m getting there, and while it took some time and it took someone telling how she can’t use my camera with confidence (or with less confidence) if it’s not set to full auto, to realize that just getting the moment is what I need to tell the story…at least I had the lens cap off.

Life is always better together, my friends. Don’t be your own roadblock.

Now That Cupid Found Death, The Aftermath Begins

My computer is filled with images of Jessica. Candids and group shots alike as chronicled by the various events, activities, and random moments of living over the last six months. I found myself scrolling through them earlier and now I struggle with the question: am I capturing life, creating memories with my omnipresent camera or am I chronicling death?

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “First Light.”

After she finished eating breakfast, one of the caregivers walked Jessica to my room, pulled my desk chair right next to my bed, and helped her settle into it. Jessica was smiling so brightly too, seeing me and how I was sitting in bed with photos and papers spread over me. She thought I was hard at work. I was, but not doing the kind of work she thought–not the kind of work anyone wants to do. The photos and papers were being readied for pickup to go off to the hospital where we hoped the recipient would recognize a face or two, but I knew they were all more for the family at this point. But my task at hand was of utmost importance: I was to tell Jessica that her best friend was not coming back from the hospital. I’d made subtle hints earlier in the week to see how she would react and cope. Jessica and Sally truly completed each other and with Jessica still recovering from a stroke, Sally’s absence is more profound.

As She sat in front of me, giving my hand a little kiss, she noticed the picture I had out for her to write a little something on the back. She quickly commented that she had that picture. She did. We made a copy of it for Sally to write a little note on it when Jessica was way in rehab following her stroke. It had cheered them both up mightily. So with the photo in one hand, my hand in her other hand, and two of our caregivers standing quietly behind her, torn at wanting to give us privacy and wanting to be there for me, I took a deep breath, blinked back the tears from my eyes (and my voice), and began.

“Jessica, Sally, you know your friend in that picture, the one you’ve been missing. She isn’t coming back to us.”  My words were met with a confused look. I tried again, this time my voice cracking. “She’s too sick. The Cancer, it’s too bad and she won’t ever come back here.” This time my words hit. I hated every second of it. My selfish self. In her wise ways she replied, following an exclamation of surprise, that you “never know when it going to be your turn.” And then she asked who the woman in those pictures was and I had to all but begin the whole process again. The caregivers, who had been quietly wiping away tears the whole time had to leave at this point.

I managed to get Jessica to write on the back of the picture and I had to tell her three or four more times about Sally not returning. I have to try again. To find some way for this sweet lady to connect the dots that the woman in the picture is Sally and that Sally is the friend she misses and who has the room she’ll wander over to during the day and just look at as if waiting for Sally to walk out.

I arranged for a delivery of flowers for Jessica today. She loves flowers and is such a modest country girl, I knew a florist fresh arrangement would tickle her. She was delighted and she kept telling me, and everyone else, I got them for her, but she didn’t do anything to deserve them. The world could use more Jessica’s. Although it was, it continues to be, a difficult task, I should feel privileged that Sally’s family asked me to tell Jessica. The heart is tender and I was entrusted to do my best to hold her’s safe while delivering a personal message from a family who loved her so much they needed her to know. They needed her to know while they hole vigil with Sally at the hospital.

Waiting On Death

I’m the only one in the building who knows the bulk of the reality. It’s a heavy load. Not the fact that I’m the keeper of such important and private news, but that I’m stuck here, helpless to do anything to help a family I’ve grown to love. I tell myself that being on the…

The Little Things

I’ve learned it’s best to sit and watch, listen more than talk, smile with my eyes as much as my mouth, and always, ALWAYS, be prepared to photograph the mundane. A candid shot of mundane in my world is often an action shot to someone’s son or daughter. Proof of life being lived or comfort…

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