Yesterday was a month since you passed away. I stayed by your bed in the ICU rubbing your head, stroking your arms and massaging your feet. I’m so glad you had a small time where you could communicate with me and your grandson. Your last words were “I love you too” and “It’s ok. I’m alright.” I knew eventually this time would come, but like people say, it’s never easy. I thought I had emotionally prepared myself for this day after 8 years, but it came so fast and unexpected. I didn’t say much to you. Everything I ever wanted to say to you I had already said all my life growing up. I knew you knew exactly what I was thinking just by how I was gently touching you. You always said I had a gentle touch. I couldn’t sleep. I only had one hour of sleep the night before because I was so afraid I’d wake up to someone saying you passed away. I thought I was going to pass out due to lack of eating, drinking and lack of sleep as I was massaging your feet. I wanted to just close my eyes for a few minutes by the time 11:20 am rolled around. It was Thanksgiving Day. Someone came rushing out to the ICU waiting room to say your bp was low and you were quickly deteriorating. Your grandson and I ran to the side of your bed just in time for me to say one more time I loved you, thank you for adopting me and giving me the most incredible upbringing and to say hi to grandfather. It was just a second after I said those words you breathed your last breath and passed away. I’ve never seen anyone die before. You were my first. And my mother. All the color left your body. You were still. You were cold. But we still threw our bodies across your chest and hugged you. You were finally in peace. Out of pain.
We returned back home. No turkey for us. Everyone else was celebrating a huge dinner and we were alone with our emotions. I made shepards pie and we watched a movie. I got a headache from the lack of sleep and went to bed. The following days were quite busy preparing for your burial and memorial service. I started to make you a video, but became so emotional while doing it I began to weep. I shut my laptop off and sat on my bed crying. You were always such a huge part of my photography. Part of me died when you left this earth. Then, I had a warm feeling on my back like I’ve never felt before. It was unlike anything else I’ve ever felt. The warm sensation felt like someone/something was rubbing my back as if in comfort. It felt amazing. I then felt better and decided I would continue with the video another time. I came back to finish my video last night.
Life since then has been ok. I hadn’t felt good after your burial and found out by my doctor I had bronchitis. I also think I sprained my ankle a few days ago so I am limping around. Going back to work has been hard. I should win an Oscar for putting on a brave face and working with my clients when deep inside I am still grieving. It was during my work hours when I’d have lunch we’d call each other and we’d make plans for the weekend. Everyone has been so supportive. I even got a gift basket from the President and Vice President of the company. People said your memorial service was beautiful too. I’ve gotten sympathy cards from a lot of people. You touched so many lives during your years. I’ve written back personal thank you cards to each person. I’m still not finished. By the way, mom, someone is interested in buying your house. As soon as I get everything out, I’ll make sure it’s in good shape for the next person. I’m also planning to give away your electric scooter and van scooter lifter to a missionary in Africa who might need it. I’m very excited about that as missionary work was a part of your life. I know how hard it was for you to get around and that electric scooter really helped bring life into your youthful heart. I hope it brings the same to someone else who truly needs and deserves it.
The songs I chose for this video were selected for very personal reasons. “Stay Alive” by Jose Gonzalez pretty much sums how I will live my life. Doing things that make me happy. Which is to continue taking photographs, being with your grandson, going on adventures and seeing The Grand Canyon-remember, you said you wanted to go back but with us. I will do my best to fulfill that wish of yours and see for myself, one of the wonders of this earth. Adventure Boy and I went to your grave the day after Christmas, as that is when you have your birthday. Your burial plot is still settling. We left you something and took away the dead plants left there from someone else. I know you’re in heaven, but there’s comfort in being near you. Afterwards to smile a bit, Adventure Boy and I went to see “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and it was amazing! You would have loved it too! I think people who live and breathe photography would “understand” what this movie is about completely. I heard a song on there that I knew instantly I would use on this video I made for you. Hence, Stay Alive was chosen. I also chose “Into Eternity” by Brian Tyler. This song was used in the scene where the Queen was buried in the movie “Thor: The Dark World” and it was so beautiful and touching. You are my forever queen and I wanted to leave this video fit for a queen, hence the song “Into Eternity”.
Thank you for being a part of so many of my photographs. I would always be excited to show you what I captured. It’s amazing how you were right there with me or only a few yards away with most of my pictures. I took so many from around your house. We sure had a lot of fun vacations, outings and Sunday strolls didn’t we? I’ll miss those moments too. You would always smile and say, “Oh hun, that’s beautiful!”. I will miss hearing you say that as well.
I miss you and I love you. Until we meet again.
** If the video freezes, go directly to my Vimeo profile and watch it there.