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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Oh, That Picture, I Took it at ....

I know so many people are sick of this snowy weather, but I honestly love the beauty of it.  I could do with out all the ice, slush and mess, however.  

Whenever I am out and about, I always have my camera with me.  I truly believe you never know when a photo will present itself.  Through the years I have learned that there is so much beauty to be captured, and often in the most unlikely of places.  For this particular collage, I happened to be away on retreat, and just couldn't stop myself.  From the decorations found within, to the deer prints in the untouched snow, I was in my glory.  

Over the years I have taken many photos, candids being my favorite.  I am one of those individuals everyone dreads, constantly snapping pictures when people least expect it.  It makes it so much more fun and you capture moments that just couldn't be manufactured with a pose.  Occasionally I will thumb through some of my photo albums, read the captions that were written or just laugh at the memory it evokes.  Every time I look at my life chronicled in photos, I feel a bitter sweetness.  On one hand a sense of accomplishment, on the other a sense of loss.  So many individuals who have gone from our lives, who's smile can only be seen in the photographs, there whole being captured in the impromptu photos taken on any given day.  

These photos remind me of what we shared, what mattered and still matters in my life, and what they meant to me.  I look at Rachel's, my dad's, my grandparents and other family and friends' photos, and I realized that I would not trade these memories for anything.  

For some of you, looking at old photos is too painful.  It may be too soon, it may be that the hurting is just too much.  A lot also depends on how your loved one died.  Rachel was taken from us suddenly after a car accident, my dad after a long illness.  In both scenarios, I was okay looking at the pictures, wanted to look at them, needed to see them.  Friends of ours who lost their brother to suicide, couldn't bare the sight of his photos, and it took years before albums were even opened.  I also know of others who were amazed that we kept all of Rachel's photos out and around the house.  They had quickly put every last photo of their loved one away, telling us they couldn't and didn't want them visible, it was just too painful.

For me, I love having the pictures around, after all I am still the mother of three children, and what parent doesn't keep at least one photo of each child in a place of prominence.  My desk at work holds a photo of each of my three children, my husband, my son-in-law and of course my new love in my life, my grandson.  I wouldn't have it any other way, but I am not everyone else.  What may be okay and works for me, might not be right for you.  We are as individual as each snow flake, we are unique in our looks, our beliefs, and our way of thinking.  Our coping styles are also as unique as we are.  Some rise to the occasion and take charge, others wait until it blows over, while still others whirl around in utter confusion.

Whatever your style, whatever your approach to life is, it is YOURS alone.  Just as my way of coping and dealing with my daughter's death is very much unique to me, so is yours.  I still have the inner turmoil, moments, sights and even sounds, can trigger tears, can cause an aching and a longing, but yet I managed to get through it.  For others, it can leave you feeling drained, exhausted and unsure of what to do.  I was home a year unable to truly focus on too much, others in a similar situation returned to work within a few months, still others have not been able to do anything at all.  Three different scenarios come to mind.  Friends of ours lost their daughter a year before Rachel, also in a auto accident, after a few months, the mother returned to work, part time at first.  I stayed home a year.  Just before Rachel's death, someone just a few blocks away also lost their daughter suddenly, the mother remained bed ridden for over a year, and just recently has begun to function.

We all respond very differently, and because of the unique way individuals respond, others will try to set time frames on how long someone should grieve, when they should be returning to work, when they should act as if nothing has happened.  Recently in our area a mother, still very much grieving the lost of her son, was let go by her employer.  It was still within a year of the child's death, and the employer felt she should be 'over it' by now.  Newsflash!!  You don't get over it!!  You get through it, you get stronger every day, with an occasional lapse, but you somehow begin to realize that you will be okay.  Every parent I have met since Rachel's death has told me over and over again, it is a life time of grief.  Whether is was just yesterday or 40 years ago, the pain may not be as acute, but there is still an ache, there is still hurt, there is still an emptiness that is hard to fill. 

However you handle your current situation is okay.  This is what is right for you, if at anytime it becomes more than you can bear, reach out to others, find a willing ear.  If need be, seek counseling, they provide an unbiased platform in which you can fully express yourself.  I used every method available to me, from willing family and friends, to a counselor; there is no need to go it alone, even if it is years later.

Continue making memories, infuse them with past memories and live you life, fill it with so much love. So much love that you are overflowing, so that it never runs out, even after your loved one is gone.

Blessings! and until we meet again.


  1. Rose Mary, it is interesting to become the 'observer' around people that have 'lost' a loved one. I feel myself to be truly blessed as Jezz remains close in spirit.
    It is wonderful that your pictures bring you much comfort while the camera has now become another frustration for me :(
    Stay strong!

  2. Chez, I have found that being an observer truly helps me along my journey. It gives me a sense of comfort in witnessing the successful transition from grief, it lets me know that I too can survive, I too will make it.

    Knowing you, you will find a way to turn your frustration into something very, very positive. Best of luck.

    Take care and stay strong as well. xoxox Rose Mary