The Uneven Odds Of A Year

I’m sorry if this is long. But I hope you have the strength to read it, some how I have found the strength to write it and to share it with you.

For me years were always marked by birthdays and the blowing out of candles and New Years Eve counting the seconds of a clock to bring in a new Year. But that is no longer true. For many of us we have a date marked in our mind that now has added another way to notes another year. But this date is not one that we welcome with open arms or even really want to speak of, because of how unspeakable that day was a year ago. But even with how unspeakable or hard it is to remember we cant and wont forget it or forget Sarah. I know for many of us this year has been hard and at some points it has even felt like a hell that we don’t deserve to live in, an unreal event that could only be real in a nightmare but is a reality for us.

One of Sarah’s favorite artist and one that she introduced me to was Sleeping At Last. I have mentioned his music before and want to again. Mainly because it has over this year been something that has help in the heal and remembering the moments we shared and I want to share a moment with you that came about because of one of these songs I heard a few months ago . This is part of the lyrics from the song…

you’ll always remember
the moment God took her away,
for the weight of the world
was placed on your shoulders that day.

When I heard that I was driving, I don’t remember if I stopped the car but the tears came quickly and I knew that in that very moment a song had four simple lines that put words to a day that I did not think could have any words attached to it. Still I replayed that song a few more times trying to not allow for these lines to hurt but to capture something. And it did when I really started to listen because their was something I missed and one of those things was another even more simple three line lyric that was something I needed to hear, something I needed to hit me in the face that would allow the pervious lyrics not to sting as bad and this is what came…

no one expects you to understand,
just to live what little life
your mended heart can.

And that was it! No one expects us to understand and we will never truly understand why God took Her, Or how this has and will always affect how we look at the world and the people around us. No on expects us to understand, because others will never understand how we felt and do feel about it all today, about how we need to heal, and how we need to live. But that is it we need to live for us and for Sarah and in that simple life, “Just live what little life your mended heart can…” I realized that is what we need to do, but I don’t want to live just a simple life, but one that Sarah would be proud of.

So I hope for us that today we don’t relive the tragedy, we don’t let the darkness of that day steal from us the light that Sarah shined on all of us. I hope that during this day we spent it remembering what she meant to us, the memories that were made with her and how much she loved us. It was never comforting at the time of her passing to hear that she was in a better place, that she was in heaven. Because I was selfish, I wanted her to be here and still feel that some days. But when I think of her faith and our belief in God I know what it is wrong to want her to be here and I know what we all will one day see her if we trust in God that we will. We all will get to catch up to her in the place that she is at and tell her about how we got to meet with her there. Its in these beautiful beliefs and memories that she is alive and will forever live because we wont let them go and because we are still here to share them.

I don’t know what you did today, but I hope it was something special. For me I told myself that I wanted today to be a day that was filled with peace, with remembering everything that Sarah was to me and to not let something dark take over again. So today I drove with one of Sarah’s best friends (Matt Suchan) and headed to Grand Rapids. I wont go into much details about the day. But say this, it was a day that I am thankful for and was blessed to have. It was a day were we got to spend time thinking and talking about Sarah, about life. It was simple yet perfect. Not many words needed to be shared because we felt and remembered the love we felt from Sarah and most of all I hope that you felt that today as well.

Before I finish I was wanted to share this last thought, this last little hope. In a documentary I recently saw about a young man from the States that moved to India to work with kids that had AIDs he said this line while he tried to save a kid that was slowly dying from AIDs, he said that he prayed to God that this boy that was dying from AIDs would live, but if he did not that his death would be special. A year ago today I prayed that God would not take Sarah away and then a few days later I stopped praying. But when I heard him say that I though and pray that even though God took her away, I pray that her life will impact this world and the people around me in a special way and today I’m seeing how it has and will.

I love and miss you Sarah,

Thank you for reading. And I pray that you will find peace, strength, and healing today.

Don

Underway.

Yesterday was the first fall shoot for me. It was a good one. One that was filled with smiles, taking chances and overcoming road blocks. It was very interesting to see how all of these photo shoots will go. Every shoot has had a funny story, something to overcome, and even a life lesson or two in them. This shoot went well when we got to the location. We found our selves out in South Lyon for the shoot but hit so many road blocks to get there. The endless traffic, detours, road blocks and having to drive out of the way to get to the location made it seem like we would never get there. Still we made it, had an amazing time and wonderful shoot. It hit me on the way home how even with every thing that got in the way and the feeling of almost being defeated I was able to over come and it worked out. I think thats how life has been or seems at some point. The moments when you feel like you will never make it to where you are going. The frustration that sets in when life is not turning out the way you planned or wanted it to. But some how, in some amazing way when those feelings come if we work at it, fight against it, and don’t give in or give up it works out. Yesterday was that sweet reminder that; yes this book has been hard, yes there are times when life is so frustrating, and it seems we will never get there. But when you work at it and you do arrive and you look back. Its makes it all so much better and sweeter to have come so far after so much has had to be overcome. I hope you are overcoming whatever you are facing this weekend. I know this book will be filled with these kinds of stories that I will know of, and it will make finishing this book so much sweeter in the end.

Thank you for reading. We are almost there, almost to fin.

The Art of Gift Giving, And the Gift That Has Been Given.

She has given me a gift. Never thought of it but been thinking of a moment I remember. A moment where I was at her old work the salon where she was hanging up her art work. It was the first time I met the owner. She asked if I was an artist as well. I said no. Never really thought I was or what I did could be considered art. But I realized that I am and I always was. And Sarah knew it, encourgaged it, and I have not even thought of it till just now while sitting in a creative arts conference in Chicago thinking of her. Thinking of her talent, of her gifts that has given all of us so much.

But if you asked if I am an artist, I would say that I’m not right now. Right now I am a man finishing this project that was started by a beautiful women that had an amazing gift that I don’t want people to miss out on. I was thinking about how everything I do for the book is in the lenses of her and it is a beautiful lens. I read an interview of Sarah a while ago to help me remember and to make sure that as I took these photos it would be something Sarah would have done and she said this….

“The way I go about creating an image is hard to explain. I love nature and how even if you go to the same place twice, it is different. I grew up around nature and wanting to be in it all the time. It is a feeling, a place, an emotion I get within me that I want to share. Nature is the base in most of my work. I enjoy the challenge of connecting people and objects to nature to carve out a new meaning.”

It is amazingh how as I look back at a lot of the photos of the book how I see Sarahs love of nature and other elements come in to focus without me even really seeing it as I am working. This is just one part of the glass that makes up the lens at which allows me to see her dream. It’s stunning how her love of nature, and of people is just another gift of inspiration to me and to others.

The book is coming along, still allowing to let her dream of it guide me to the end, to fin. And I hope that it will be seen as a gift to others so that they too will be able to remember her love and art for a long time.