pegkerr: (Rob's last)
[personal profile] pegkerr
...as she stood before the canvas on which he was represented, and fixed his eyes upon herself,
she thought of his regard with a deeper sentiment of gratitude than it had ever raised before;
she remembered its warmth, and softened its impropriety of expression.

--Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice


I realize that I never posted the last pictures we took for our family portrait. They were taken by a friend of the family and professional photographer, John Walsh, the night before Thanksgiving, November 2017. We had no way of knowing, but that was the very last night that Rob slept in his own bed. I took him to the Emergency Room the next day, Thanksgiving Day, for fever, and he was admitted that day. He never saw his home again. Many of you saw these pictures on our Christmas card.


















The shoot was wonderful, and you can see what a happy, laughing time we had...but I knew in my heart what was coming. When Rob's individual portrait appeared on the photographer's monitor, I immediately burst into tears. I managed to choke out that it was because I so moved by it. Indeed, I loved it--but that wasn't it.

I was crying because I instantly knew it was going to be his obituary picture. And I was right.



Today, I thought of this treasured picture of Rob as I was listening to this song, from Austen's Pride, A New Musical of Pride and Prejudice. (Listen to this song here. The lyrics here are from the first minute and forty seconds. Listen to the whole thing: it's gorgeous.)

Who are you?
I thought I knew
The man in the portrait
You appear and seem to be
All the things that I refused to see
And you said you loved me.

Who are you?
Is it true
The man in the portrait
Is thoughtful and good?
If I knew then
What I know now
I might have understood
But that was then
Now I’m face to face
With you, the man in the portrait
In your gaze, I can see
The way you used to smile at me
And it says, you loved me.


I was open with the fact, I think, that Rob and I had our struggles, as happens of course in any marriage. It was very difficult particularly through the years of unemployment. But my respect for him grew so much as I watched him battle cancer, and somehow, this photograph captured something about him and made it visible for all: his nobility, and his suffering, and the love that shone out of him. The lines I've bolded above say it well. I told the photographer that I will treasure this photo for the rest of my life.

I cried a lot today.

photo credit John Walsh

(no subject)

Date: 2018-05-11 01:10 am (UTC)
julian: Picture of the sign for Julian Street. (Default)
From: [personal profile] julian
This is all very tough, which I wanted to stop to acknowledge. And things just hit you. And keep hitting you.

But I also wanted to comment that I LOVE that raised eyebrow one of the girls. Good gosh, the personality. (Also, the one of them piled on Rob.)

(no subject)

Date: 2018-05-11 02:11 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Any news or message?

(no subject)

Date: 2018-05-11 03:35 am (UTC)
naomikritzer: (Default)
From: [personal profile] naomikritzer
These are beautiful pictures, and I'm glad you have them.

(no subject)

Date: 2018-05-11 07:13 am (UTC)
kiwiria: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kiwiria
I cried reading this :-( Grief is hard - things continue to hit you when you least expect it.

My goodness your daughters have grown into beautiful women! It's funny to see how they change in photo shoots like these. The picture of the two of them smirking at each other just really gets me. It's obvious that they love each other and I see in them much of the same relationship I have with my sisters. It's such a blessing :)

(no subject)

Date: 2018-05-12 12:16 pm (UTC)
pru: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pru
I can't believe your daughters are so grown.

I'm glad you have the photos and memories from this beautiful photo shoot.

(no subject)

Date: 2018-05-12 05:13 pm (UTC)
malinaldarose: (Default)
From: [personal profile] malinaldarose
Those are wonderful photos.

(no subject)

Date: 2018-05-12 07:32 pm (UTC)
silme13: (Rosie)
From: [personal profile] silme13
Oh, those photos are amazing -- so emotional. I understand why you cried. But they still are incredible photos to have and cherish.

(no subject)

Date: 2018-05-13 02:19 am (UTC)
aome: (i miss dead people)
From: [personal profile] aome
The pictures are truly spectacular. And although the one of all four of you together is, of course, beautiful and to be specially treasured, it's the smaller groupings that, I think, are even more beautiful. Somehow, those smaller groupings allow people's personalities to shine through even more. Rob's strength certainly does shine through in that picture, knowing what he'd already been through so far. I didn't realize that was the last night he spent at home, though. Tough memories, to be sure. Thank you so much for sharing the entire complement of photos, so that we could treasure them, also.

I don't know if any of you were up to going to May Day last weekend, but I thought of you on May 1st, and how you and your daughters used to wash your faces in morning dew when they were small. The traditions your family made together were (and are) so lovely - and surely things your girls (no longer "girls"!) will treasure forever.

Thinking of you, as always. I hope the girls are kind to you tomorrow on Mother's Day. <3

Profile

pegkerr: (Default)
pegkerr

April 2019

S M T W T F S
 123456
7 8910111213
141516171819 20
21222324252627
282930    

Peg Kerr, Author

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags