With the double ear infection behind her and mood lifted, we gathered to re-shoot. This is Olivia at 9+ months…a much happier baby girl!
Last fall I found myself staring at some chalk art on a board behind the counter of a new wine shop in my little lake community. The Real Wine Republic, in Excelsior, MN was announcing a “Wine & Culinary” tour in Croatia! The artwork caught my eye so I inquired. The owners, Patti & RJ, began to fill me in on the trip. Now, I’m (sadly) among those who (at that time) didn’t even know exactly where Croatia was even located so considering to go was not even on my radar OR on any sort of “bucket list”. Fast forward…I leave tonight. Wheels up at 9:45p!
I’ll be joined by 12 others on this trip. All from surrounding communities whom share my love for exploring other worlds….and, of course, wine! I’m, needless to say, pretty pumped about this trip and look forward to sharing it with you…we can explore together!
As much as I love a blue sky kind of day…when I can, I try to make a point to get somewhere so I can devour and marvel at the curtain call on the day. Sometimes I catch it setting from my sofa beyond the steeple of the church up the block. Last week, as I drove down 19 and rounded Lake Minnetonka, I caught myself wanting to pull over several times from different vantage points as I sensed the glow hit my face from the passenger window….KILLED me not to be able to. Many stretches, along the lake shore, are too dangerous and some areas prohibit parking…rightfully so.
The above shot (Gideon’s Bay) is about 4 blocks from my home and always offers a fabulous vista at sunset. It’s a short stroll away at the end of the day and when there are clouds, it’s even more magical!
What was notable, on this night, was that the season of boating hadn’t quite begun so the silence was eerie! “Ice Out” was called on April 5th but not many boat owners had their boats on the lake. I stood there, on the point, and watched for about 15-20 minutes as the color of both the sky AND its reflection in the water changed until the sun merged with the horizon. I am always in awe of the setting sun. Each night offers something different to witness…no two sunsets are alike…I love that.
Today, I attended a funeral for the son of a high school classmate of mine. We aren’t close, nor do we see one another much…mostly just at church on occasion. Yet, when I got the news about the accident, I was gutted. I’ve buried both parents (that’s to be expected at my age) but I don’t have any children of my own so the thought of enduring that pain just left me with knowing that I needed to stop, say hello and offer my sympathy for what is sure to be one of the most devastating losses.
As I entered the church (the very one I attend and where my friend is employed) it was full and bustling with the typical funeral attire: black suites, ties, black coats (it had just been snowing heavily..not unusual for early April). There were two guest books positioned near the door…I signed my name and city, looked up and quickly surveyed the gathering space for familiar faces. I first saw my friend’s sister (aunt to the young man who had died) and went in for a big ‘ol hug…hadn’t seen her in maybe 30 years. She said she wasn’t sure where her brother was so I wandered my way through the crowd and back to the long stretch of tables and easels where images of him were displayed. I’d never met him…he looked just like his dad….spitting image. I’m certain he heard that his whole, albeit short, life. Then I ran into a couple of male classmates, hugged and mentioned how I am going to forever hug people the way I do at funerals; long and purposeful…always.
Made my way back through the crowd, in search of my friend. I couldn’t stay for the service so I wanted to be certain I could greet him in person. I spotted him, we smiled and I walked through the circle of people and embraced him with all my might. I felt tears building as we slowly let go and the words “I’m so sorry” came out. Those 3 words always seem so lame to me..weak. Like what we say when we don’t know what else to say. I sometimes think the hug is more meaningful yet we feel we have to fill dead (pardon the use in this case) air or something. My friend held both my shoulders and looked me in the eyes and said: “Sue, we don’t know what God’s plan is.” And I said, “But we know that it is perfect.” He smiled, we hugged again, I kissed him on the cheek and said “Take care.”
I didn’t stay long but I couldn’t not go. I just remember the people that surprised me at my mother’s funeral 5 years ago and what an impact that had on me. Even if I can’t stay for the service, I will always do what I can to be there for the people in my life…regardless of knowing the departed.
Rest in peace, Zack.
I love this quote so much that I bought every greeting card that Provisions, in Excelsior, had on hand! I ration sending them out and check back regularly to see if they’ve restocked this gem.
Why the hoarding? Well, it’s not like me but I love to send hand written cards and I love to let others know that it’s okay to “piss away” a day or at the very least, an afternoon. 🙂
I mentioned, yesterday, that I would be on call all day for an organization where photographers volunteer their time for families grieving fetal demise. It’s not for everyone. I get asked a lot: “How do you do it?” Honestly, I find my strength and guidance from God. My shift, today (7am-9pm), was quiet…not even a heads up for an impending loss. I was grateful.
Instead, I hung out and tackled my taxes & the bottom drawer of my file cabinet. I stayed close to my phone and my camera bag was packed and parked at the door. I never went outside. While I kept thinking a call could come in at any time, I just bounced from task to task with no real timeline. So was the day that I set aside for volunteering wasted? Not in my book. The bonus was that my services were not needed and that’s pretty awesome!
It’s been a number of years since my last session…nearly 5.
I just remember serving a family shortly after my mom passed away from kidney cancer in 2010 and feeling like it was time I stepped away and took a break. I really just needed to heal and photographing more grief was not helping.
I’ve been an affiliate of NILMDTS since
there was only about 7 or 800 photographers on board in the US. Now
there’s thousands world wide! I’ve served many families and even made
some life long friends with those families. There’s this crazy, intimate connection that you make when you’re requested to walk into the lives of fresh sorrow. I was recently in an elevator where a young woman recognized me as the photographer that photographed her baby. It was bittersweet. When she got off at her floor and the doors closed I bowed my head and smiled. I knew there would come a day when I would return to the organization.
Fast forward, I’m back on the “on call” list and today is my day.
This morning my heart is torn; While I elected to be on call today, part of me doesn’t want my phone to ring and part of me wants to make certain I’m able serve a family and assist them in the grieving process through imagery.
It’s been a wonderful journey and I look forward to giving back with a gift that’s been given to me, by God.
There always seems to be a shortage of photographers to cover all of the losses. Sometimes we need to step away creating more strain on the existing affiliates. If you are a photographer or know one please head to the National Website and consider joining this amazingly rewarding organization. Thank you.