Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sometimes its the pictures we don't take(sad post-warning ya!)

that we remember, haunting us...

Two weeks ago, I was packing to go visit my Dad. After being diagnosed with lung cancer, they were setting him up in hospice. I wanted to go visit, say goodbye before it was too late. Joe said to me, "are you bringing your camera? I said "no." I explained to him that I did not think I would want to take any pictures during this sad time, and I doubted my father, sick and weak and vulnerable, would appreciate having a camera in his face. Joe told me I should bring it, just in case. So, I did. On the plane there, I took these, and I thought that these were probably the only two pictures I would take that weekend. So much for bringing it 'just in case.' 



When I got there, it became clear that we had little time. The first day I was there, we had such a beautiful visit. I was so glad to see my Dad after so many years, even though I was sad that it had to be under these circumstances. Later that evening, my mother made coffee. Coffee at our house growing up was a constant ritual. Morning coffee, afternoon coffee, evening coffee. No matter the time, the routine was the same. Mom would always make it, prepare it for dad, and bring it to him. He was always thankful for the effort. Mom and Dad would sit on the couch, relax, and drink it together. As kids, sometimes they enlisted our help, and I am sure there are plenty of landlords out there that can attest to this given the coffee spills and drips that ensued during the kitchen to couch trips. So, that evening, Mom did as she usually did. She made it, prepared it, and brought it to Dad. But this time, he was in bed. It made me sad to see the empty couch. She sat down in her recliner next to the bed and they had a cup of coffee together. Dad sat up a bit and they leaned in close to each other. They spoke softly to each other, Mom leaning in closer to hear him. And the way they were looking at each other...
The last days, although sad, I was struck by the romance between these two. 38 years. They genuinely adored and loved one another, and it was so very obvious and admirable during these last days. I sat back in the corner, just taking it all in. I wanted to pull out my camera. Snap this moment. It was just. so. beautiful. If I could take a picture to show you what love is, what it looks like, it would be this tender evening coffee moment. But, I did not want to interrupt the moment, and I was afraid my Dad might get upset, so I did not grab that camera. Turns out, this was their last cup of coffee together. The next day, my Dad passed, peacefully. God rest this sweet man's beautiful soul.
Now? Part of me wishes that I had captured that moment. For me, my mom, my family. But at the same time, if I could go back, I don't know if I would have done anything differently. I will certainly remember that moment, and I will always think of my parent's love when I make and prepare a cup of coffee for my love, Joe.

My father was an amazing man. He will be missed. I know that I have shared his website before, but here it is again...he was an amazing artist. 
http://dennisvanderveer.com/

When I was at the house, I snapped his palette, knowing it would be the last time I saw it.

And I will leave you with one of my favorite self portraits of him on his wall...dad in his painter-gear. Perfect.

Since I have been back from Florida, I have been more aware, trying to focus on the beauty and joy in my life, taking in as much as I possibly can, always reminded that our time on this earth is so very short.

And did you know that it has been a year since I started this silly blog? My blogiversary passed when I was in fla...I hoped to have a big fun post, tell you about my new blog I have been working on(swear I will share next time!!!), lol, but this is life...you just never know what He has in store for ya, so you just roll with it, improvise.

Enjoy your life, your day!






3 comments:

  1. I ache for your loss, Heidi. I'm so glad you got to spend time with him and your mom, before he passed.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am so sorry for your loss. I felt those same emotions on my last visit with my grandmother. Try to remember the powerful picture your words can create too. You will be glad you wrote this memory down, and I have a "photo" of it in my mind right now. What a sweet memory of them to cherish. Your Dad's paintings are wonderful. Praying for you...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Heidi - bittersweet post and title. Photographs can be wonderful preservers but sometimes it is necessary to just observe with your eyes, record in your memory. I can understand how you will miss that photograph but you do have the memory. You were there at that moment.

    I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I can only imagine how difficult this time is for you. I am also glad you were able to spend time with your dad. His self-portrait is beautiful, as is his painting palette. Thinking of you and your family...

    ReplyDelete