I couldn’t go

I spent the day wrestling.

Up and down … on and off the ladder … continuing to work on the
“Never-ending-re-glazing-the-windows” Project.
Smoothing. Scraping, Scrubbing. Painting. Sanding.
And wrestling.

Tonight is Michael’s visitation.
My understanding is that
last Sunday, things were normal … ordinary … they were common.
Last Monday, he was queasy.
Tuesday, he began to vomit.
Wednesday, they headed to a local hospital for fluids
… when he collapsed.
He was given blood transfusions and transported to MCG’s Children’s Hospital
where they specialize in the difficult. They excel in the extraordinary.
Thursday his enlarged spleen was removed.
And he was given more transfusions.
He was placed into a comatose state to keep him still
and allow his fragile body to rest.
His body was fighting and killing his red blood cells
as soon as he could make them
or they be given to his body.
Friday, he rested.
Until evening, when his pupils weren’t reacting normally.

They planned to do a CT scan to make sure he wasn’t bleeding in the brain.
I do not know if they even made it through … or to … that test.

Early Friday evening,
two parents,
five sisters
and one brother,

a school,
a neighborhood,
a church,
a camp in north Georgia,
a swim team,
a football team,
and countless others

lost Michael.

Fifteen years old.
Part of a family who is huge by today’s standards …
and loves huge by any standard.

I wanted to go tonight and take photographs.
I did it for George Dodgen’s family and I was pleased.

When a child dies suddenly, life spins. There has been such a whirlwind
that I know that it is all a blur.
I wanted to photograph the visitation … hugs … touches … smiles …

but I cannot bring myself to go.

I’ve come to realize that photography is intimate for me. I had a dinner party a few weeks ago, and we took no photos. The table was absolutely filled with people with “big boy” and “big girl” cameras, as I call them. I had all three of my little Sony’s close by. But, I couldn’t bring myself to snap a shot.
It felt like an intrusion
on a private, personal time.

Because photography is intimate for me.

I love macro photography.  I want to do more than take a photo … I want the details. I want the up close. I want the small, tiny thing that others don’t see. I want the crumbs under the table, the seeds on the ground, the whiskers on the cat. In most places – like economics – macro means the BIG overall picture. In photography, it means making the image being photographed
“larger than life.”
So, in photography, it means
the bees eyes, the snails house, the flowers pistils, the child’s tears, the dirty nails, the blonde curl,

When I put all of this together a few weeks ago, it helped me realize why
I do not like to take photos of babies
or most people.
It feels like an invasion of their personal bubble
… their personal space … because I like to get the details.

So, all day, I’ve mounted the ladder and climbed back down
as I’ve worked on my antique windows
and I’ve wrestled.

I finally realized that …
I just can.not go tonight.
Not a single person in the Cave family will leave the funeral home tonight and say,
“Hey! Mrs. Karen wasn’t there.”
Not one.

There will be dozens …. and, yes, probably hundreds of people,
walk through those double doors tonight
offering solace, comfort and prayers.

And if I am there, I feel as though I will be one more hand to shake,
one more neck to hug,
one more tear stained face to reflect a loss.
It just seems like
I will make it harder.
For, I am additional work.

So, I’m not going to go.
I will continue to pray.
I will continue to mourn.
But, I will stay home
with my camera
and not be a part of creating a macro image that will remain for decades.
Some things might be best to remain a blur.

2 thoughts on “I couldn’t go

  1. I so understand their pain and completely agree with your perspective. I think for those of us who depend daily on the Holy Spirit to guide us, that He gives us the understanding of where we should be and when we should be there. I am sorry for the pain of Michael’s death. But I can tell you, there is no solace like that of Christ’s promise of life with Him in eternity. I pray they will be able to find comfort in Michael’s eternal home. For us, we rejoice in the knowledge that as a family, we will be with Rebekah Joy one day when God chooses to call us Home.


  2. Karen, I never read this until today. I clicked on a link that took me to another blog and out of curiosity I saw all these months of blogs and decided to see what you blogged in November of 2010. It was a blur and the beginning of many hard days, but God gave us grace for the visitation (I remembered so many names–supernatural!) No, we didn’t recognize who wasn’t there. We greeted people for almost 5 hours. But thank you for loving us, praying for us, feeling with us. 3 years later it is still very hard, but I do agree that we have eternal comfort as the person commented above. I can’t imagine life without it. Love to all of you…


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