Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Pictures... the good, the bad but the never Ugly

This morning I was looking through my desk drawer for shhhhh, a lighter for a much needed cigarette. Yes I know, what a nasty habit. But that is for another blog and not one I will write soon. As I shuffled through the what nots of the drawer, I came across a picture. It was a picture I long ago told a very special lady that I had thrown away. Ahhh, those little white lies. The picture was of my Sheila and was taken not long after she had become so ill. I remember her telling me when she saw it to "Toss that Ugly thing out!! I mean it, D, throw it. I look so terrible in that picture. I did NOT toss it obviously.
My mind went back to that time for a moment or two. To a time when she spent most of her days in the hospital and I spent mine taking care of Samantha, our only daughter at the time. The picture was taken on one of her very few days outside. The meds had taken their toll on her and the illness had ravaged her body. But it was that outing that had been the start of her first remission. She had so enjoyed spending time with the family and laughing as we talked and spent time together. I was so thrilled to have her out with us and to be a family, if even for one single day.
I shuffled through more pictures in the drawer and tears came to my eyes. Each picture was a sequence to her getting better for a time. Why I had taken them that way I don't know. Or perhaps I had not and they simply came out that way to me. I found pictures of her fishing with me when we were first married. there were memories of our first anniversary and our first Christmas. There were pics of me on Christmas morning. We got up at 5 every Christmas morning for 24 years. I have to tell you, I was definitely the "bad" looking at 5 a.m. She, always looked as if she just came home from the store or a get together. Even at 5 a.m. she was for sure the "good." there were pictures of her in a wig from when she lost her hair to chemo. Scary pics of me wearing it, looking a bit like a Rocker with my beard and her wig. Fun times that we shared to make softer of the reason there was a wig to share.
As I looked through the rest of the pictures, they took me down a twenty-four year road of memories. Needing to stop and cry for a minute, I realized that there were no Ugly pics. There were no pictures to be shunned or hidden. These pictures were a chronicle of a life spent filled with love and caring and tears and smiles and lessons that we would live by then...and that I live by as best as I can today. A remembering of a love so beautiful that I know God must have surely seen something good in me to have blessed me with such photographs of Love caught on camera.
I smiled as I packaged the pictures together and moved them from my drawer to the strong box. With them I placed a note written to my daughters. It simply says, "these are yours to remember that each of these pictures shows one thing. They show your mother was still with us. Let them tell you now that she still is and always will be. there are no Uglies in pictures, only life and memories to cherish. Love Dad."
Have a look at your old photo album when you get the time. And remember, there are good, there are some frighteningly bad... But there are truly no Uglies.

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