Saturday, November 26, 2005


I was planning to spend one of the holidays with Henry's family this year - we've always lived far enough away that getting back to Amarillo was difficult. We had the largest gathering of family in a long time, and it was a sweet day. But also bittersweet, because Henry's dad was too sick to come. We have a wonderful family photo, but we were missing two . . . . Henry and his dad. I've thought about using my photoshop skills to take a photo of Gene at the house and try to work it into the shot. And I had meant to take a photo of Henry after he got over to our niece's house - so the lighting and background would be easy. But it has been a difficult choice - do I really want to take photos of Gene at this final stage of his life? Do I really want photos to remind us of how weak and feeble he has become.

And yet, when some of us gathered at the house with Gene Thanksgiving evening, I took photos. He's had time with these grandchildren- and he's had time recently with all of his children. As photographer, I have helped document the memories of these last times with Gene. I look at him and find myself being grateful for these last minutes in his presence. I have been grateful that I've had opportunity to try to make him physically comfortable.

Today I also got to spend time with Debra and her fiance, Jonathan. After the week in the hospital and the worry over how to best care for Gene, it was a pleasure to share memories of places we shared with my mom. Thankfully, Jonathan was patient. My mom would have been especially pleased at how much he enjoyed the trip to the ranch and some of the strange plants that grow there. Because I drove, Jonathan and Debra sat in the back - leaving the front passenger seat empty. How fanciful of me to think how appropriate that was - as that is where my mom would have been sitting. Surely some part of her joined us today - as Debra relived things we did with her grandmother. Even if only in our memories.

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