Over the last ten days, my folks have been on my mind almost every day. I've had moments where missing them was so intense I just cried, and then minutes later been laughing about something from the past that was such a vivid memory, it was as if it just happened. Sheila's seen me up and down like an emotional yo-yo and she's been instrumental in helping me through these oddly timed stretches of grief.
This morning, literally right now as I'm writing this, I finally figured out where the seeds of what I'm feeling were planted, and it's all thanks in part to photography.
Every year for the last four years I've been the emcee at a fund-raising dinner here in Sarasota for the Friendship Centers. At the one two years ago, my Dad was still alive and joined us. Then, last year and this year fun stories about him and my Mom were topics in my monologue whenever I was at the podium.
This year my good pal Erin McLeod, the CEO of the organization threw me a curve ball and included a short section of the script that was a sunset toast to our elders. From my script I said,
"We have all had someone we can say shaped us, guided and mentored us as we grew...an elder who saw potential, offered instructions and encouragement. Just for a moment, as the sun sets right out these windows overlooking Sarasota Bay, please join me in raising a glass to that elder and to all the elders. Mine are right here on the screen - my parents."
The image that came up is the one above. Even though I knew it was coming, it set off a wave of emotion that was tough to keep together. And, here I am this morning still on the subject.
So what's my point?
First, all of us have people in our lives who have passed away, and we miss, but it's thanks in part to our career choice, photography, their memories stay so much alive. I'll spare you my lecture on the importance of never compromising on the quality of an image, but that doesn't change your responsibility every time you click the shutter for a portrait.
Second, is letting yourself go with whatever emotion pops up when you're taking that stroll down Memory Lane. After a whole round of tears the other night, sparked by a scene on Grey's Anatomy reminding me of the night my Dad passed away, I apologized to Sheila for my little outburst. She hugged me, laughed and reminded me that missing loved ones we've both lost and then sharing that pain is a crucial ingredient to the strength that holds us together.
So, today's post is as much about what I'm feeling as it is about you. When you've got those moments where a flashback catapults you into the past, just go with it. Most of us put those feelings in a box, and put them away, embarrassed by the potential moment losing control. But, whether you're lucky enough to have a partner as I do, or you're just by yourself, enjoy the moment and recognize the pain you're feeling is a good thing and deserves to be savored and appreciated.
And to Mom and Dad, who I know are together, in a place of peace and watching over us - I miss you guys - Thank you for continuing to always being by my side, and in my heart.
Wishing everybody a beautiful day and regardless of whether you're celebrating Easter or Passover, make it a day filled with love, peace and the people in your life who keep your heart beating and a smile on your face! And as always, if you can go for a few seconds longer than the usual eleven-second therapy hugs - like Nike's tagline - JUST DO IT!
Happy Sunday everybody!