I don’t tend to write much on here that is personal. But this has been weighing on my mind so much recently that I am having a really hard time not letting my feelings out, and for me writing them is much much easier then talking about them. My blog is not really an active journal for me, I like to keep it pretty focused on the work I do for others. But this past week has been a huge reminder of how important photographs are. How important family is. And how grateful I am for keeping the memory alive of those I love through my camera.
I have been extremely blessed in my lifetime to have four grandparents who have lived to see me reach almost 30, and have been very involved in my life. On May 7, 2014 I lost the first one. My sweet grandfather has battled numerous types of cancer through that past 5 years, he has had some very risky surgeries and it finally was his time to go. It was really hard to see a very active person (he was competing in tennis matches (and winning) through his mid 70s) get so sick and worn down. In a way, him not being able to do the things he loved was almost more difficult then him passing away. This is my first experience with death, and I have always imagined it to be a very earth shattering thing. So much so that it would completely turn my world upside down. This past week has been so different then what I expected and part of me has felt a bit guilty for it not making me so upset that I cannot get through the day.
Don’t get me wrong.
I have been sad, I have cried quite a bit. The day of his passing, I started to scroll through numerous photos I have taken of him over the past few years. I cannot express the gratitude I feel for having these images. This past December, he contacted me and wanted more then anything for Christmas to have a photo of our entire family together. Getting this many people in the same place, at the same time, was not an easy task. But by some miracle the stars aligned and we made it happen, and I surprised him with the framed photograph on Christmas eve. I think it may be the most important photo that I have ever taken in my life. I am sure there are a million technical things someone could find wrong with it, but for me and for him it was nothing short of perfect.
I enjoy looking back at photos of him because it brings back so many happy memories I have. My father ask me to think of one specific memory I have of him and I just cannot pick one. My first thought was the numerous lacrosse games he attended and scanning the stands in between goals to find him to make sure he was there (I don’t think he ever missed a game.) I miss our tennis matches (even though I always lost and was the first to be ready to go), and the frozen yogurt dates. I miss the football games, and calling to update him on my life and how the BYU lacrosse team was doing. I miss his laugh and talking to him about photography.
In the midst of the tears, and feeling sad, I feel relieved, happy and….. grateful.
Im so relieved he isn’t suffering anymore.
My heart fills with joy when I think of those who were waiting for him on the other side.
And I am so beyond grateful for the knowledge I have of the atonement and the sacrifices made for us so that someday I will get to see him again. This life isn’t it. Death is not a permanent separation from those we love. This life is but a small portion of the time we get to spend with our families. When I focus on that, the sadness is masked. The tears go away. And my focus becomes the things I need to do to try and live a life as amazing and full as he did.