Friday, April 2, 2010

Do They Know I Love them?

This week I have been especially fixated on this question. Does my family truly know that I love them and why? I really hope so and it is my goal to make sure this is a reality for them. I never let my husband or kids leave without telling them I love them. It is just too important to me. But do they really understand and know that I mean it when I say it? Do they really know that it is not just out of habbit that I say these words to them?

Why so deep tonight Marta?
What's up with this?
Is that what you are asking yourselves?

Well, this past week a friend/neighbor lost her father in a very tragic (and sensless) motocycle accident. I was very honored to have the opportunity to document this celebration of a life well lived for her. This accident claimed the lives of 3 others and left more injured and many families devastated. All of this has caused me to reallly reflect on how much I love my family and how lost I would be without any one of them.

When Susan asked me to do this I instictually said yes, but in my heart I was not sure I could do this. I hate funerals, they truly overwhelm me, I avoid them like the plague! Well, I owe Susan a debt of gratitude for giving me the opportunity to stretch myself past my known comfort level.

I have never shot a funeral before and I was so unsure of the protocol that goes along with it. While technically, they are not great photos, I hope they will help Susan and her family in some way remember the day's events and how many people showed up to honor and celebrate Clyde's life.

I am posting some of the photos I took

I loved seeing these big, tough, bikers all holding hands as they listened to "I am Proud to be an American" played on their loud speaker. It was soul stirring to see this softer side of these men & women.
Clyde was a Commander in The Navy I loved his hat sitting on the memorial table looking ever strong and honorable just like the man who wore it.

The members of the Patriot GuardRiders were each as different from each other as their bikes were. Every type of man and woman were represented here. The "hardcore biker type", the "weekend warrior", the old and the young. All brought together with a single goal.

As I was driving in the cemetery I saw this in my mirror - just had to catch it.

The patriot Guard Riders were the color guard today. Although they were not in dress blues, they were in their own special uniforms that depicted yet another facette of Clyde's life. They lined the walkways holding their flags with honor for the family to pass through as they entered the service.

Full Military Honors were given at the National Cemetery
Susan really wanted me to capture the moment when they handed her Mom the flag - I so wish I had been brave enough to get closer and get a better image for her. But I felt so ackward and intrusive doing this.

After the service was over and the family had left, this one older man that had served in Vietnam (it said so on his jacket) stopped and saluted Clyde's remains. He held that salute for some time and then as he went to turn away, he clicked his heels and did that beautiful turn that only Military men can do. It was a beautiful moment and no one else was there to see it but me. I was so moved.

The dozens and dozens of flags that had been used that day were neatly rolled back up and packed away for another time, another funeral.

There is something so beautiful, yet so sad about seeing a flag flying at half mast.

My final stop on this photogenic journey was the actual accident scene where a makeshift memorial has been built to honor all of the victims and their families. I met and interesting man named Jerry while I was there. This man with trouble in his eyes and on his face was one of the heroes at the accident that day. He comes to the site to offer hope to family members that might stop by. I was very touched by him and hope and pray for him the same healing I hope for all of the victims and their families.

This was a beautiful funeral and as funerals go it was uplifting. The stories that were told about this man and about the way he loved his wife and daughters. The stories told of his military carrer and his love for bikes. All the stories of his faith and his generousity were wonderful and touching to hear.
But it gave me pause. . . It made me want to tell my family how wonderful they are NOW!
It made me want to swoop them all up in my arms and hug and kiss them NOW!
I am sure at this point I am rambling - but I think you all know what I am getting at. Lets all vow not to wait to memorialize those we love - it's too late then. Let's make an effort no matter how busy our lives are, no matter how much we think we still have more time, to let those we love REALLY KNOW how much we love them!
God bless all of you and I hope you enjoy a wonder Resurection Holiday weekend with your family and those you love!!!!

1 comment:

Eva said...

Oh my Marta you made me cry this morning! First of all you did an amazing job on these pictures. What a beautiful tribute and memory for his family. This brings me back to this time last year. Just barely over a week before Randy's car accident we attended the funerals of two of our friends and fellow LEO's who had been shot down in cold blood. Their funeral went on for miles and miles of patrol cars, it was gorgeous, but so heart wrenching at the same time. Then to have Randy come so close to death just shy of two weeks later was overwhelming to us all. You just never know do you?! Love your family everyday and just so you know......I love you my friend!