4 years ago, our family was going through one of the toughest times ever. On the Tuesday after Memorial Day, my husband had a PET scan and it revealed that the lung cancer we all had hoped would go away didn’t. In fact, it blew up and had taken over my husband’s body. There were spots on his femur, on his hip bone, on his colon, on his neck bones, and everywhere in his lungs except where the radiation had been targeted. That was one of the hardest days of my life…
On the way home we called the kids and let them know everything we knew…and that was that my husband was only given a few weeks to live. At the time, they thought maybe 3-4 weeks…or at least that’s what they told us. I now suspect they knew it would be quicker…
Regardless, we went home. The kids all came home. We scrambled to give my husband the very best days we could while he was still with us.
We told the extended family and told anyone who wanted to say goodbye that they were welcome to come. We hosted lots of family and friends during the few days.
We picked out a burial plot. That was something Kramer did himself. We tried to get to the lawyer but when it came time for the appointment, Kramer wasn’t up to it. We had a will and I ended up going to the lawyer with one of my kiddos just to make sure everything was in place.
We tried to accommodate everyone’s last wishes and needs before he left us.
Our daughter, without me knowing, booked a photographer to come to the house and get a last set of family pictures. I’ll be honest. I was a little bothered by that. Who wanted pictures of us at that point? We were all so exhausted. Kramer didn’t even look like himself anymore. He had to be in a wheelchair because of the cancer in his femur and hip. We didn’t dare have him have an accident and trip and break it. Beyond all of that, how could I possibly muster a smile? How could any of us?
Rather than complain and squash the pictures, I decided to just shut my mouth and if this is what my daughter needed to feel okay, then I’d just do it.
Our photographer was great. I think she could tell this was really hard for us all. So she snapped some candid pictures of the day…not all posed pictures. This was Scotty and Carver.
Lucy was terrible at this age. She didn’t like anyone besides her parents and her other grandma.
But the photographer got some good shots of her.
The photographer got some good shots that are meaningful to the babies now that they have grown. Here is Kramer playing with Georgie’s toes.
This photo is of all of us and is the most posed photo. I like it.
Can you see the brown thing sticking up behind the tree on the right? That’s my old living room couch. It broke…just snapped in the middle (Don’t buy Ashley furniture!). The boys carried it outside and put it in the sinkhole that had formed in our yard with the intention of burning it.
They later did burn it. They had a bonfire and that’s where they all were sitting when I found them a couple of nights later to tell them that Kramer had just passed away.
Over the last four years, these pictures have grown on me. I still don’t love them…but they’ve grown on me. They are an honest look at where our family was at this moment. Some pictures I didn’t show have us looking more sad and even a few where we’re wiping a tear away. In most, we mustered a smile.
I’ve said this before and will say it again and again and again. Go out and have some family pictures taken NOW. Don’t wait like we did. Don’t wait until your loved ones are sick and just a shadow of themselves. Don’t wait until you have to force a smile. Don’t wait until the wheelchairs, the neckbraces, and the oxygen all make their way into the pictures too. Take the pictures now so you don’t have to look back and feel the pain along with the joy.
Kramer died two and a half days after these pictures were taken.
I don’t regret getting the pictures taken, in fact, I am glad we have them but I do really wish we had more family pictures that showed a happier time in the life of our family. Which reminds me…I need to schedule a time for family photos. Just because Kramer isn’t here, doesn’t mean we aren’t a family…and doesn’t mean we can’t do family pictures. Make a goal to do it. I am. I’m off. I’m going to give Kalissa a call and see if we can come up with a time to take some.