I lost my father to cancer two weeks ago. Last week I traveled home for the funeral. While I stood in the receiving line both at the viewing and prior to the funeral, I wanted so much to be behind the camera. (Hiding and) capturing. There were so many moments of things both tender and raw that I wanted to shoot so that I might replay them later when I am more still. Small movements, sadness that showed and ran away, the kindness of old friends and family. I wanted to capture the sun at the cemetary. The brisk southern Alberta wind through the petals on the coffin spray. The beautiful shoes sliding into the dirt at the gravesite, much to no one's care. The grandkids holding hands. The soft sympathy in faces of my youth lined with years that have passed without my noticing. Words cannot capture the sadness I saw. Of men grasping to understand. Of sisters tearful and brave. I wanted to preserve hugs that clung to one another. And still faces with falling tears. There were so many things that will fade with time and memory.
I did take one photo. We were leaving the family room, proceeding into the chapel. My brother, always the stoic, reached out and put his arm around my tiny mom. I couldn't help but take a photo. It will be the one picture that will have to sum up the day. And hopefully when I look at it, I can always remember all the other pictures that live just in my memory.