Have you ever experienced grief so deep, so profound that you could not find the words to express your feelings? Because words don’t exist.
I have. Fourteen years ago, I lost my best friend, my husband, and what felt like my life. Never before or since have I experienced that kind of pain. We were happy, we loved each other dearly and then the unimaginable happened on September 10, 2007. Pemmer was diagnosed with cancer. He was not a stranger to cancer, he had testicle cancer in his 20’s. At that time all men in prior years did not make it so, Pemmer became a test case. This was all before my time with him, but the pictures of him while he was sick were haunting. They looked nothing like the man I fell in love with. The treatments, he said, were brutal. A week in hospital doing chemotherapy and three weeks off, repeat. He did this until he could no longer handle the sickness. His second round of cancer hit him 28 years after his first, his modo, he beat it once and he would beat it again. His determination, strength and positivity were amazing.
He fought for a year, gave it everything he had and more. Endured more pain than I have ever witnessed, this cancer hit him with a vengeance. He went from diagnosis to critical care almost immediately. The tumors were fracturing the bones in his pelvis, they were in his spine and dangerously close to paralyzing him…. yet he smiled and said babe, we’ll get through this.
That was Pemmer, kind, loving, funny, happy, and ever so grateful for the days. He never gave up. He passed on September 20th, 2008, and suddenly it felt like my life ended along with him. As I think of those days now and the path my life has taken. I have much to be thankful for. I had a wonderful man that thought I was his earth angel. He taught me more in my 18 years with him than anything else I’ve ever experienced. He believed in me and encouraged me. He was my cheerleader, and he is the one that gifted me a Nikkor 105mm F2.8 Macro lens. A gift that changed my life forever.
When I picked up the camera the pain dissipated, my mind focused on what was in front of me. I was able to begin to see beauty again. His gift helped me find, me. I found a voice, small at first, very unsure of the direction, but as the years have passed all that has changed. My voice has grown louder, I have a passion so strong it screams share me! My flowers beg to be noticed, and noticed they are. The colors, shapes, and personalities are front and center. I’ve always known there was a purpose to all I’ve experienced and a path to something more if I trusted the journey. Well, that has been a journey in itself…I've had to really learn to listen to that voice. Now I find I’m ready, the images that scream to be noticed and shared are all part of this new direction. Sharing the beauty of what I see through the lens on bags. Functional art, to bring awareness to all the beauty around us. All we must do is open our eyes and see what’s in front of us.
Life becomes more valuable by the connections we make and the journeys we take. I’ve been blessed by so many; my path forward continues daily and for that I am thankful.
If you’re still reading my story, thank you. I know it’s long, but I think it’s worth it. I appreciate you so much and I hope you’ll check back often as I share more of what I see through the lens.