Our sweet friend that I was praying for was called home to be with our Lord last week. I really feel like we got a miracle, although it wasn’t the one for a complete recovery. She was able to have two lucid days to recognize, share and laugh with all the family and friends that came to see her. The doctors were shaking their heads in disbelief on Sunday…and she lived for two more days beyond that. It was a gift to share two more days with her here on earth – for that I am grateful.
As I looked for pictures of her, I started to panic. I knew I had one of her that I loved…and it took almost two hours to find it because I had to go that far back in our digital files. After I finally found it, it was bittersweet. I had the picture I wanted, yet in the process of looking, I realized how few I had of her to remember her by, and I have not even one of the two of us together.
Neither of us was crazy about having our picture taken, and knowing how much I hated to have my picture taken, I wanted to honor her wish not to be photographed. In my head, we had years with her…why would I need a picture to remember her by? This was a person with whom we celebrated birthdays, who we saw over the summer in the mountains, who we could pop in and see on the weekend…why would I risk upsetting her for the sake of a memory when I knew she was a forever kind of friend?
Along those lines, I am also going to encourage you to make memories now. We are all tired, short on time, and have homes in various states of disarray. Lately, every time she was on my mind, I would hear she was in the hospital again. Instead of taking the time to go see her after each discharge, I said a prayer of thanksgiving that she was well, thinking that there was still plenty of time. I had envisioned that we would travel with them after our children were older – and by then we wouldn’t care about taking pictures, right???
Wrong on both counts – our friendship is out of time, and I sit here with a short stack of pictures to share with our children when we talk about this wonderful friend who came to visit each of them after they were born, who came to baptisms and birthday celebrations, who kept special toys in her home for the times when children came to visit…so little of that is recorded because I wanted to honor her desire to stay off camera.
What is the fine line between respecting someone and recording their presence in your life? I still don’t know. Personally, it has made me grateful that I heard Jen McClellan of Plus Size Birth speak at a conference two years ago. Her message to “Capture Motherhood” really resonated with me, and since then, I have made an effort to be in more pictures with our family.
So today, I am going to add one more voice to the growing body of posts on the blogosphere that say: take the pictures. Life is messy, and for too long we have been deceived that the only worthy pictures are the “perfect” ones that we would print on a holiday card. The truth is that out of the whole year, there are only 2-3 days that we really dress up for; that leaves 362 days of “real life” that we have the rest of the time. Catch some of it on camera…so those that want to remember you in pictures will have something to look at and share along with all the wonderful stories of living life with you.
Along with taking more pictures, I am also going to try to remember to tell people what I love and appreciate about them more often. This friend was part of my journey of becoming a mother – I don’t know if I could ever thank her enough for her help the first time I tried to breastfeed in public. Without her by my side, I would have been even more of a mess that first time. She calmed me down, found a way for me to latch Puma in privacy, and sat by my side as tears of pain and embarrassment rolled down my face. I know I thanked her that day. Looking back, I can see how pivotal that moment was for me, and I wish I had told her again how much that moment means to me today. It always felt silly to want to say something…now I wish I had.
If you have those special people in your life, give them an extra big squeeze today as you tell them why they are important to you. And get that picture with them, too. Capture life.
My story of hearing Jen speak HERE
Jen’s Plus Size Birth blog HERE
Birth Without Fear events HERE