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A Roll Of Film

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My husband died in August, 2004 of brain cancer. We were blessed to have a few years together after surgery, chemo and radiation, but that time was also plagued by a continual decline in his abilities. I am 45, he was 56 when he died too young. Our dreams are lost. Certainly I know he is whole and not suffering any longer but that sometimes doesn't lessen mine. I am disabled so I have each and every day to deal with my loss. A wise woman told me to throw my books away and look for my answers inside. I don't have answers, but I do have a lot of journal entries and I thought I might share one. "A Role of Film":

A Role of Film

I found it in my 35 mm camera. An almost complete role of film. My heart did a few pounds more than normal - that camera hadn't been used since the last time Jim and I went to Duke, May 24th, 2004.

I remember the trip because it was incredibly hot for that time of year. Plus, I was bound and determined that we wouldn't do our usual rush down and back, but find some time to use our cameras. It was something we shared and loved. How glad I am now that I was stubborn.

Our first and primary stop was the Butterfly Museum. It had become an oasis of calm for us already and we had visited, but never with enough time to just sit and take the pictures we wanted. I can see Jim wandering, composing his shots, it was always rare to find him without a camera, but using the full equipment was his joy.

Then on to see the Tobacco Museum. Mercy it was so hot. Jim wanted to look at all the exhibits and it was a day I didn't feel very good. It was a Tuesday, the 25th. That is locked into my mind because my care-giver called from home on the cell when we were outdoors. Jim wandered ahead while I dealt with some home emergency or another.

Now 3 months after his death I find this role of film. And it scares me to develop it. But I shoot the 3 remaining pictures and take it to Wal-Mart. Go for one hour but can't get them since I have been diagnosed with shingles and feel horrid.

So the next day I pick them up on the way back from taking Phoebe, my queen bee, to the vet since SHE was sick (I am seeing a trend here). And yes, these are my last shots at the tobacco museum. And some are actually good architectural shots. But one stands out:

user posted image

At the time I am confident this was a wave hello, or a simple hey there. Now, it looks like a wave goodbye.

By the next week we would have our first 911 call, by the end of June, Jim resided at Richfield.

Even with tears in my eyes as I say goodbye to my love again, how lucky we were that we never gave up, never gave in. Him to his cancer, me to my CFS. We may have been tired, worn out, but it is my hope that Jim died with memories of places and experiences that he loved.

There's a role of film in his camera that needs to be shot off, and I've yet to find his small camera. Surprises still..................

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Cherish those memories. I lost the love of my life of 46 years to cancer this past Oct 20th. His last wish was to take our grandson to disneyland. So on Oct 2, 2004 my sweet Charlie, my son and grandson and I drove the 5 hour drive from Phoenix to Disneyland. He was very weak and had to be wheeled around in a wheelchair but he enjoyed watching our grandson have so much fun. We took lots of pictures and look at them every day reflecting on his last great adventure. I miss his terribly and life will never be the same as before but I will hold on to my memories until I am with him again. I feel your pain and my heart goes out to you. May god be with you.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Dear Ones,

Both your postings remind me of the lovely words of Robert Fulghum, who wrote in his wonderful book, From Beginning to End: The Rituals of Our Lives, that “photographs are precious memories . . . the visual evidence of place and time and relationships . . . ritual talismans for the treasure chest of the heart.”

And there are the words of photographer Libby Friedman:

Realizing the mortality of the moment,

I became a photographer

as a way to fight Death

and preserve those things

that inevitably become lost

as time goes on.

Friends change,

lovers leave,

one moves on.

A photograph is forever.

And perhaps you'll remember this, from songwriter and singer Paul Simon:

Time it was ~

And what a time it was!

A time of innocence

A time of confidences

Long ago, it must be ~

I have a photograph

Preserve your memories

They’re all that’s left you.

Wishing you peace and healing,

Marty T

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  • 2 months later...

I was reading you post and was touched by the roll of film you found, as I too lost someone dear to me, and that precious moment of picking the roll of film up and seeing him smile 'just one more time' as if he had come back to me once more. I also am from NC and love the butterfly museum in Durham......please do not feel like you are alone......your husband was waving in the picture and saying, 'I love you and I will be seeing you again'

Thank you for sharing your story, as you have helped me more than you will ever know. Sincerely, Karen

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