Sheila has a good friend in Naples and headed there to spend time with her this weekend. So, Molly and I headed to Melbourne, Florida to hang out with Vanelli for the day. It's just after 7:00 AM as I write this and I guess I'm about to cross the line into a topic that some of you sadly might find controversial.
Let's start with Vanelli. First, if you don't know Robert Vanelli, he just goes by his last name or "V." He's a three-time Triple Crown Karate Champion, and while it might have been a long time ago, he's still the guy you want on your side in a barroom brawl! But, what many of you don't know about him, is his spiritual soft side; his love for writing poetry and in short being one of the most sensitive and in-tune-with-feelings people I've ever met.
This past weekend, like the last time when he came to this side of the state, we spent a lot of time talking about family and friends we've lost. With each funny story we shared, there always seemed to be a hidden lesson we learned along life's journey. We laughed a lot, but he's one of those people who, if I were telling a story and had a tear in my eye over the memory, I wouldn't feel embarrassed.
Last night over dinner we were exchanging stories, Vanelli about his parents and me about my mine. As he was talking about something his mother said and calling him "Robby," I actually felt like I grew up next door to the Vanellis. I commented, that whether you believe in immortality or not, we've made those special people in our lives, who we've lost, immortal through the love for them that comes out in each story we share.
I needed to get back to this side of the state and left for the three-hour drive just after dinner. As I drove home I had one wonderful conversation after another with my folks - all brought on thanks to the dinner conversation with Vanelli.
Then, this morning, while reading one of Sheila's Marianne Williamson books, she wrote about healing through the memories of loved ones we've lost. She essentially described the wonderful feelings I enjoyed on the ride home last night.
Finally, this morning I caught a post Vanelli shared on Facebook about a good friend's wife who passed away. He talked about how an old photograph got him talking to her about her husband and their friendship. He closed the post with:
If you have lost someone, don't be afraid to have a conversation with them.
For me, it keeps them in my life.
There you have it, my whole point this morning in one stellar sentence from Vanelli. We've all lost loved ones and people who were huge personalities in our lives. They leave big holes in our hearts, but for me, the way to keep them by my side is to have a conversation with them now and then. Put those conversations together with the memories photographs help capture and I've created a world full of immortality and opportunities to never have them very far away.
The hole in your heart never fills back up, but turning back to a time when life was perfect because of the presence of someone you've lost, does create an unlimited inventory of smiles. That's one of the things I love so much about the business of photography and at the risk of driving a few of you mad as I quote Jodi Picoult for the tenth time...
"This is what I like about photographs.
They're proof that once, even if just for a heartbeat,
everything was perfect.
Now, put those photographs and memories together with a conversation now and then with somebody you've lost and miss, and for a few minutes, you'll contribute to their immortality!
Wishing everybody an incredible Sunday, and one filled with great memories and time to appreciate your roots. Everything you are today is a combination of your experiences and things you learned thanks to so many different people, many of whom are no longer with you. Make it a day filled with great memories and take the time to create tomorrow's memories today! Always go for those eleven-second hugs with the people most special in your life.
Happy Sunday everybody, and to Vanelli, thanks for a great visit buddy!
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