Tuesday, January 18, 2011

in tribute.

I've been putting off the writing of this post.  I'm not eloquent, which is why I usually resort to photos to tell my stories, so I've been trying to come up with the words to go with this post.  they're not coming.  I'll still try.

it's been a long time since I've experience a personal loss.  I've watched people very close to me experience loss, and I've felt pain, but my attention is usually drawn to their strength.  I end up asking myself over and over again, "how do they do it?"  my grandma passed away when I was 14.  that was the last time I remember feeling a "hole" in my life, and in my heart.  I vividly remember thinking that she would never again sit at my violin recitals--her seat would always be empty, at least in this life.  this time is much the same.  I'm watching people, wondering where they draw their strength from, and praying for their hearts to heal.  I know his wife and children feel this loss infinitely more than I.  I even feel a little silly writing about my thoughts and feelings, but it's been an emotional time, and I don't want to forget.  the difference this time is my heart hurts too. 

my extended family is close.  we always have been.  it's all I know, so I don't know how unusual it is or isn't, but I feel a lot of love, support and strength from my family.  so, five years ago, when my uncle was diagnosed with ALS or Lou Gehrig Disease, I cried.  a lot.  DJ will tell you how emotional I am, so that really isn't a surprise, but the difference is the depth of the feeling behind those tears.  my uncle ron has always been wonderfully supportive, thoughtful and interested in me.  I remember walking away from many conversations wishing I could have talked more about him, but he was so good at listening, and bringing the subject back to me, that I always missed my opportunity.

my favorite recent memory of ron comes from one of the many times he came to support me whilst performing.  he and my wonderful aunt shauna (along with other family members) made their way down from salt lake to watch me perform in orem hale center theater's footloose.  after the show, we found each other, and chatted on the stage in the middle of the round for a while.  in the middle of the conversation, ron looked at me and said, "look, I can be footloose and fancy free too."  he then commenced to do a little jig that had us all giggling.  I found out about his diagnosis a week later.

on december 28th, I made my daily phone call to my parents' house on my way to the gym.  my dad picked up, crying, and told me about the passing of ron.  I was shocked.  even though ALS is terminal, he seemed to be doing so well, never complained for a moment, and hadn't progressed in the disease to the state that he could have.  in my mind, he had time.  I hung up, drove to the parking lot, and cried.  I couldn't bring myself to go inside, so mack and I turned around and went home.

I feel so blessed I was able to be in utah for the viewing and funeral.  while it was emotionally draining, it was inspiring to remember his amazing life.  I can only hope to be as well-rounded and spiritually strong as he is.  his example as a parent is exemplary--may my parenting benefit from his example.

I feel honored my cousin asked me to capture the viewing and funeral in photos for them.  while I don't feel most of the photos are mine to share, here are a few that have special meaning to me. 

one of the many beautiful arrangements displayed.  ron had an amazing yard, with beautiful flowers. 

my brother with his newborn son.  we held the blessing later in the week, and as we celebrated both lives, I noted how amazing and short the circle of life is. 

my dad.  ron is his brother, and, with the exception of twins that passed away shortly after birth, he is the first person to pass in his immediate family (can you guess where I get my sensitive tear ducts?).

my vivacious grandma.

and my incredibly hard working grandpa.

dad with the pallbearers--all ron's brothers and brothers-in-law. 

leaving his final tribute.

my beautiful and strong aunt shauna (ron's wife).

ron's daughter and husband.

he is loved, he is missed, and the hole hasn't healed.  I have a feeling it will be felt for a long time yet.


embily said...

libby, your thoughts and comments are beautiful. i think it's going to take a while for all of us.

kenna said...

prayers to you and your family, that hearts will be comforted and souls will feel peace.

Jaclyn said...

I don't have words, Libby. I'm so sorry. Much love and hugs.

Sorensen's said...

I agree with you Libby. Uncle Ron had a special place in all of our hearts. I'm glad we are such a close family though.

Abigail said...

Nice tribute Libby. The pictures are lovely. It was so good to see you and your family. Love you.

Steph said...

beautiful photos. They add perfectly to your already eloquent words.

Amy F said...

I think we all felt so much with the passing of Ron... and it was an experience I'll never forget. Because of the faith and fortitude of his family, I think we all came out a little stronger and more hopeful. I am so glad they asked you to capture some of it through picture. A treasured gift.

Katie said...

These photos are a beautiful depiction of the funeral. Your Uncle Ron will obviously be so missed and is so loved. You have a gift for capturing precious moments.

Jill T said...

Libby, thanks for this post. And thanks for the pictures. I loved reading the part about Footloose. And I appreciate reading your thoughts and feelings on the whole experience. I too, am so grateful for a close family! Including you.

Amanda K said...

I'm so sorry for your family's loss. You are all in our prayers, that you might feel comfort during this time of sorrow. Thank you for sharing his sweet spirit with me.