Photo Highlights of the Weekend, and a story…….

There’s a story at the end of this post which might make it longer than usual.  So if you feel like it have a seat, and get comfy………… 🙂

 

And away they go!

 

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It’s a wonder camera men don’t get run over when they film close-ups of wild horses running through the brush.  A little courage is certainly required when taking photos, or video of a horse stampede.  Here’s some of my best photos; only two out of the many I took, but oh, well.  I had a good time!

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I badgered the other photographers all weekend, who were very kind to give me a few photography pointers.  Aim, and shoot was the overall recommendation, but my newly acquired skills were sure put to the test during the horse stampede.  Although I’m still not 100% sure what I’m doing, I think these pictures turned out well.  Practice! Practice! And yes, I did manage to get in front of the horses, and some excellent video too.

How I’ve missed these rainy days……..

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Early Saturday morning, the distinct sound of raindrops woke me up.  Although I thought I was dreaming, I was so relieved to hear this lovely familiar sound, now almost forgotten, once again.  The moment I jumped out of bed, and looked out the window I knew it was going to be a great day.  This may sound strange, but coming from someone who hasn’t seen any rain in more than a year, it was definitely time to celebrate!

My eyes were met with cloudy skies, and heavy drizzle.  It was all I needed to convince me that what I’d heard when I first opened my eyes was not a dream.

Both Raul and I were so grateful it rained most of the day.  Now most people might complain about the rain, but not us! We made a mad dash for our coats, hats, and scarfs, while Raul cranked up the wood burning stoves where hot coffee was ready, and waiting for happy customers all day!

Altar Making for Day of the Dead, and My Story……….

On Saturday night, each photographer who attended the workshop this weekend was given some private time to build an altar if they wanted too, in memory of their loved one.

Here is a picture of the altar I made in memory of my Dad.

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I added a glass of tequila, which he liked to sip at night before going to bed, his photo, and a pen and paper because he loved to write like I do.

Since I was a little girl we wrote letters, and notes to each other almost everyday.  The fun part was leaving them hidden around the house where we’d find them, and then write each other back.  All weekend I kicked myself because there was one letter I wasn’t able to give him……

When it comes to expressing my feelings verbally, sometimes I don’t know what to say.  I can’t find the words somehow. I don’t know why, but if I write what I’m feeling, the right words flow smoothly with no problem at all.  It’s saying them that’s often the problem.

While my Dad was battling throat, and head cancer, I flew from San Diego to Independence, Missouri to see him every other week for almost three months.  On one ocassion, my son Ricky was due to fly out with me, and two days before our flight I spoke with my Dad on the phone.  I remember he told me he loved me, and he also told me he knew he was going fast.

It was one of those moments when I wanted to say the right thing, but I didn’t know exactly what that was except that I loved him, and we’d see him soon.  After I hung up the phone, I felt compelled to write.  I felt the fear, and emotion from the real possibility of loosing him rising to the surface, and it scared me to death.

So what did I do? I sat down and wrote him a letter.  As lame as it sounds, it was all I could do.  I poured out my heart to him as I reviewed all the wonderful times we spent together, and all the memories of him I would never forget. I cried the entire time I wrote it.  I told him how much I loved him, and how much he meant to me.  I also told him how I thought he had saved me many times from becoming a much different person than I am today; and one I wouldn’t have liked very much.

My plan was to read the letter to him at the hospital because I knew myself.  The moment I’d see him laying in that hospital bed, quite possibly for the last time I knew I’d absolutely shut down, and everything I wanted to tell him would get buried underneath the pain of loosing him.

The night after I wrote it, my cousin called from Missouri around 4am, and told me my Dad had passed during the night.  He never read my letter, and I never got to tell him everything I wanted too.  I didn’t bring the letter with me this past weekend either which I thought would be an important item for the altar in his memory.

This all may seem silly, but often enough, when our loved ones pass, the events leading up to their passing suddenly becomes muddled in a mixture of wanting to do the right thing, and being there for them, but its so hard not to get caught up in our own pain, and suffering at the thought of loosing them.

I still regret not being there with him when his time came; all of which logistical circumstances wouldn’t allow.  Perhaps it wasn’t meant for me to be there either. I’ll probably never know.  My silly letter idea wasn’t the answer either. So what was right, and what wasn’t?  Maybe there’s no answer to that question either. Maybe it all went down the way it was meant to be.

If that’s the case, I don’t like it, and I probably never will, but sometimes we also have to accept what life presents us with, like it or not, and carry on in the best way we can.

There is still a degree of guilt I feel for not being there in his last hours.  In fact, I worry he was alone when the time came since it happened in the early morning hours. Was he afraid?

While remembering our short phone conversation, I have doubts as to if he knew exactly how much I love him.  Unfortunately, life circumstances didn’t allow me to be with him at that time.  Somehow, looking back, I don’t think I would have handled it well emotionally, not like I would now.  It’s amazing how we constantly grow, and change over the years whether we notice it or not, but that’s what life experiences do to us. They change us.  I truly believe, although the pain of loosing someone we love is excrutiating, when its time for them to leave this life we need to be strong for them.  

Our personal suffering should lie on the side lines during this time so we’re able to whole heartedly be there for them, and with them- 100%.  Seven years ago, I don’t think I could have done that, and this may derive from fears of my own death which is something we will all deal with at some point in our lives.

Now, seven years later, I can confidently say,  regardless how awful we feel, or how much it pains us, there is nothing more important that the last moments before a person transitions from this life.  Their comfort, and their emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being is top priority before our own.  No matter what the circumstances.  I think as loving human beings, it is the greatest gift we can give a person to see it through to the end, with them, hand in hand, and heart in heart.

Above all, all grievances are forgotten. We must assure them their life meant something, and they were appreciated for who they were, and most of all, they were loved.

I love you Dad, and I miss you.

Caroline

 

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