I’ve always been fascinated with the old and abandoned. Some time as a child, my parents and I stopped by the ruins of a “ghost town”. In my memory, it was like one of the abandoned towns in Scooby-Doo, complete with hinged swinging wooden doors. In reality, I think it must have been much more scarce and I just filled in the details over the years. One thing I do remember is a small metal doll carriage (very typical I know) with an old doll in it. I was mesmerized by this image and thinking about the little girl who owned it filled my imagination for quite some time. Incidentally, I was also very preoccupied with death and the finite amount of time we have on this Earth. My mom tells a story of me when I was 4. I asked her if a flower I picked would die. Of course she said yes and this started a period of questions over the next few days about everything I knew in the world and whether it would die. She knew what I was leading up to which was of course “Will you die?”. She explained that yes, she would, some time in the far off future, etc. My mom said at first I was sad and cried inconsolably. But then I got angry and demanded to know why she would give birth to me if she knew she would leave me some day. The knowledge that everything and everyone we love will die someday was a truth that my 4 year old brain that horrified and angered me. It also gave me an urge to preserve and document the old and broken, the past and present, before the physical evidence was gone. This isn’t of course, a novel idea, as many people are drawn to abandoned houses, buildings, cemeteries. Maybe it is a way to ease anxiety, to honour not only what was once vibrant, but also to mark the beauty of that which no longer is. Anyway, a brief background to explain one of the reasons I love to take pictures. These are a few I took on the weekend near Kincardine. (cam phone)
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I love my mother-in-law very, very much. We have always had a strong relationship (with some bumps along the way as any close relationship experiences). Not only do I love her, I admire her greatly. She is without a doubt the most mentally (and often physically) strong person I know. She is hands-down the most energetic and uncomplaining person I know. Hedy is a nurturer. I think she was born this way. Over the years she’s told me stories about taking care of her younger brothers and sister during the war. When I had my first baby, we were living in Saskatchewan at the time but came home over Christmas to have the baby. I stayed with her for a month and when I left I was pretty scared of how I would take care of Lily without her. Hedy is a baby-whisperer. All children love her and all babies would quiet as soon as she got them in her arms. She is kind, generous, thoughtful, fun and loves to laugh. Hedy is an amazing cook who prepared all her meals with love. Her mashed potatoes are the best you’ve ever tasted and her pies would win any competition.
She is dying of cancer and it is the most painful thing our family has ever experienced. It is slow and painful. It is not like in the movies. We fully realize that she has had a blessed and full life and that death is unavoidable and unescapable for all of us. Part of being human is enduring the death of those we love. But the impending loss of this woman and everything she represents to us is even more painful than I could have imagined. There are so many more things I could say but in the end words will not suffice.
I feel incredibly thankful to have had her in my life.