If you have read this blog for any amount of time, you may have noticed that I take a lot of pictures. It is a rare occasion to find me without my camera within arms reach. Whether we are moving from the living room to a bedroom, or taking a walk into the woods, or even taking a quick trip to the grocery store, I tend to fling the camera over my shoulder. . . just in case. It’s like I have this unconscious, or not-so-unconscious, fear that I might miss a “moment.” It’s almost a compulsion that says. . . must.have.camera.
It hasn’t always been this way. Taking pictures used to be an after thought, but everything changed in one single moment. . .
. . . it was March 30, 2010, the day after my Mom died. There I was, sitting with Chad and my siblings on my parents couch and I was feeling numb, helpless, afraid, and over-whelmed. All five of my Dad’s siblings had gathered and as I watched them from a distance I asked Chad if he would take some pictures. I remember whispering to him, “I don’t want to forget any of this.”
And so it began. . . this picture taking thing.
We didn’t even bring our own camera that day, but there was something in me that was screaming DON’T MISS THESE MOMENTS. There was something about that scene in the kitchen. . . seeing my aunts and uncles gathered around my Dad, that was utterly tragic and incredibly beautiful at the same time. Maybe that sounds strange, but that was the moment it started.
We captured hundreds of “moment’s” during that week. Some of them were beautiful while others of them were sad. . . all of them, though, were real.
Losing my Mom so suddenly shook me to my core and opened my eyes to the fragility of life. During those days, and the days since, I’ve come to understand the brevity of life. While I may not be able to control the number of my days, I can certainly do my best to fully live the days I do have. . . and taking pictures has helped with that.
I truly believe that even out of tragedy, there are blessings, it’s only a matter of looking for them. I’m so thankful for the joy and healing I have found by looking through the lens of a camera. I’m grateful that this blog and community have accepted my pictures and my chatter, and has also given me a space to heal. I am so privileged to be a part of this community that has allowed me to “put it all out there” and even celebrates the big, but mostly the small, moments of our lives. . .
I have been dreaming about my mom a lot lately. Next month we will walk thorough that one year mark of life without her. A day that seemed an impossibility last March. And while my heart has a constant ache at her absence, I am also over-whelmed with the beauty that has come out of the ashes. The beauty that is the simple little moments of life that I now see every day when I take the time to pick up my camera.
And that, my friends, is why I take so many pictures.