Sometimes my brain draws me back to those days just after Chris died. I remember clearly, sitting on Misti's couch hugging a coffee mug with both hands while tears streamed down my face. Mostly I remember being in a fog. I was still trying to wrap my brain around the concept that Chris was truly gone and there was nothing I could do about it. God, that's such a lesson: learning to just accept the way things are in that moment because there's nothing you can do to change it. The idea of life without Chris was too fresh and felt like an open sore that had become slightly infected, but I was aware of the small distractions my friends were trying to make for me.
The morning after Chris's service, Chad and I were the first ones up. It was early early and we tip toed our way out of Misti's house and out into the brisk February morning. There was a thin layer of frost coating the ground and we could see our breath as we walked up the street, towards the bright blinding sun. We had our cameras with us as we walked. Chad instantly shifted over into photography mode, pointing his camera at this and that. I looked around me and didn't really see anything interesting. Couldn't see. But I lifted the lens any way and clicked here and there. All the pictures I took that day turned out over exposed and too bright with a technicolor look to them. It didn't matter though, because in that moment, while we walked that neighborhood, I didn't think about that festering wound of grief.
I wonder if Chad even remembers that walk.
The too few times we've been able to see each other, the two of us have always spent some of our time together on photo walks. So, when I realized that we would be very close to the Wigwam Village Inn #2 in Cave City, Kentucky, I knew that this would be our photo walk spot. What seemed odd to me was that up until this point neither one of us really had our cameras out. I am almost just as used to seeing Chad's face with a big camera in front of it as I am without. I don't know if we have both just gotten better at just being and seeing things in front of us with out the lens or what, but something shifted when we got to the Wigwam Inn. It was just the two of us. We had waited until just about sunset and when we got there we both hopped out of the car and started shooting. There was very little talking with the exception of the occasional "oh! that's a good idea!" or "that's a nice angle."
At one point, I looked over at Chad. He was standing with his camera pressed to his face, setting up a shot. He has recently suffered a painful loss and was dealing with his own grief during this trip. As I looked at him, I could see that grief shift over and out of the way a bit. I thought about that cold February morning of taking pictures. I thought about how this thing with cameras is our bandaid for those wounds we gather in life. Remember how just the act of putting that bandaid over a scrape, just made you feel better? Same thing. I hoped and wished with all my might that this was, in some small way, making him feel better. He stopped and looked over at me and we just grinned at each other.
I don't know how long we were there. We stayed until we had used up all of the light. We stayed as long as we needed to.