07 February 2009

Memories

The mind works in mysterious ways. After yesterday's post, I had to go back and look at those last photos of John and me with the kids reading bedtime stories.

The pictures were actually taken on 8 April, three days before John died. And, much to my surprise, he's holding Riley. Our bedtime ritual with the twins was always that John gave Maddie a bottle while I breastfed Riley, they we read them stories and tucked them in. Because of that, Maddie spent more one-on-one time with John before he died, and I've often wondered if that's why she seems to have a stronger connection with him, more memories, a feel for who he was and what he meant to her.

Here is our first family photo, in the delivery room on 22 June 2006:


And here is our last, taken on 8 April 2007:

50 comments:

Keen said...

I was so moved by your post yesterday and I remembered the pictures you mentioned. I love that you posted both of these pictures tonight--the juxtaposition made me both so happy and unspeakably sad.

Thank you for posting these memories, and especially the difficult ones. I feel like reading about them is such a privilege.

Lots of love to the three of you.

Victoria said...

Snickollet, I am so moved by the pictures you posted. It's such a heartache. ((hugs)) to you. Be gentle with yourself.

Anonymous said...

Such a lovely family. I am sooo sorry for your loss.
gmg

Anonymous said...

I agree with Keen, these photos (and all your posts) are really a privilege to be allowed to read about this very personal part of your life and your family's life. I sat here tonight and simply looked at the two photos, and was very quiet. I cannot know how it feels to be in your position. Please know that I think of you and your family often after reading your blog regularly and send you the warmest of love from this side of the planet.

Watercolor said...

hugs

yatima said...

John looks so monumentally pissed off in that last one. It makes me love him all the more; that is exactly how I would feel in his place.

Aimee said...

Thank you for trusting your readers enough to share these things. Also, thank you for sharing these very personal photos of your family.

You have a beautiful family, you, Maddie, Riley and John.

When my grandfather died of lung cancer, I was relieved that he wasn't suffering anymore. I get what you're saying, but in a different way, as the person in my life was a grandparent and not a spouse.

You're in my thoughts. Be easy with yourself. (((Hugs)))

Ali said...

I love the way you write your thoughts. They are so honest and truthful. Sharing this part of your life can't be easy but you actually help others with it. You have a beautiful family. Thank you for sharing that photo with us.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for allowing us to get a glimpse of your joy and pain. I read your "Bleeding" post yesterday and it broke my heart. Your pictures are so touching.

I admire you in so many ways -- your strength, your vulnerability, your cut-to-the-chase honesty. Like a PP wrote, be gentle with yourself.

May you and your children be blessed a million times over.

Sylvia

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing these pictures. I love how you can totally tell John has a HUGE smile even through his face mask. It's such a sweet photo.
Meagan

Anne said...

Beautiful photos Snick. What a lovely family!

queermommy said...

thanks so much for sharing snickollet. beautifully written. your children will treasure those pictures in the years to come.

tousquireste said...

joining in late to the chorus of people thanking you for sharing these painful memories so openly.

bostongirl said...

I agree with others, these two posts are deeply moving and you are remarkably brave to open yourself so fully to us. I love the first family picture and how you can see John's new-father smile in his eyes. The second picture is equally precious and reflective of life. John had to leave so much, way way way too soon. holding you in my thoughts.

Anonymous said...

i love that you posted these pictures, something about that feels very important...

mlg said...

Thank you so much for sharing the beautiful family pictures! It is wonderful to see you and John so happy and the kids so young and new. How beautiful you all are.

Karyn said...

Such a short time between the two images, yet such a change over John. It is so scary, tragic, and horrible how quickly your world can fall apart.

I'm curious: what book are you reading? Do you remember?

Yummy Mummy said...

You were and still are a beautiful family. As always thank you for sharing your life with us. You are always in my thoughts.

Betty M said...

Both these posts reflected very much my sister's experience of losing her husband. They made it all flood back. Thank you for sharing - your blog has helped me understand my sister's experience so much better.

Natika said...

Your face is so full of love in that last picture. You also look scared to death.
God made special people to deal with pain of this magnitude. I (a lesser person) might not come out of it as well as you.

Give them babies a squeeze for me!

Single Parent Dad said...

That photo in the delivery suite is absolutely warming.

John's giant smile cannot be shrouded by that surgical mask.

Thanks for sharing.

Snickollet said...

Karyn--

I don't recall what book we were reading; you can see by the photo how engaged the twins were by books at that age, i.e. not at all :).

-snick

susan said...

So short a time....I'm so sorry you didn't all have more together. It's wonderful to get to see John's first-day-as-a-dad smile. Such happiness and love.

NanarocksWeen said...

The time between the two photos was way too short. As with everyone else who posted, I want to thank you for the PRIVILEGE of reading your blog entries and viewing your very personal family photos. Hugs to you.

Anonymous said...

Again, I am so sorry you've all had to endure such loss. You're forging ahead with incredible strength and grace -- it's a privilege to be along for the journey in some small way.

Shelley

Karen said...

as always, your writing, and your strength, leave me heartwarmed and inspired.

thinking of you,
karen

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your pictures with us. You lost so much and yet, you have so much to give.

Hugs

Vanessa said...

If we can take anything with us when we leave this world, I think it's the memory of moments like the first picture. Everything else just falls away as we go.

Donn24g said...

thank you, Snick for sharing these memories with us. Your readers have a lot of love for your little family.... your photos are beautiful!

Susan said...

Snick - thanks for sharing. What John was going through was awful enough but having to see what he was leaving - words can't describe. Thank you for sharing. And what beautiful babies...Maddie's hair....super sweet.

Anonymous said...

Thank you.

Elizabeth

Amelie said...

Thank you for sharing these two pictures. It is terrible that the dates between them are so close.

Mar said...

Thank you for sharing these.

amber said...

so beautiful and so sad.

{{hugs}}

Rosepetal said...

I am also very moved by these pictures. Such a short time between the two. Thank you for sharing them.

liz said...

Thinking of you

Anonymous said...

The power of the void and sadness of your last two posts really overwhelmed me. What was even harder to see, in addition to reading about John's last days, was his photo shortly before his death. I knew John to be this big, burly, teddy bear of a guy with a big grin and bigger heart. His last photo shows how cancer stripped him of much of that. Having lost my mother-in-law to cancer much, much too soon, I have always said that cancer robs those you love of everything that makes them who they are. I saw a lot of that in John's photo too. Makes me so sad and even more sad for you and the twins. It's just not fair. Big hugs to you and the kids as you wrestle these emotions all over again. I feel the posts were both cathartic for you, but also difficult to release. Just my thoughts.
Caryn (a friend of John's from high school)

Jessica said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I imagine it will always be palpable- that huge part of your family that's missing now with him gone. I'm glad that you had the time together with him, after the twins were born, as much as it was a kind of awful marathon for you. My hope for you is that things get a bit easier, that you have the help you need. I think you're doing a truly amazing job caring for your family- juggling the decisions of work and where to live and managing to find the balance that works the best for you. I hope you continue to find some peace in this, working out your own emotions over his illness and death and the loss you've all had. I know it's difficult work, but so worthwhile.

OTRgirl said...

I love the look in your face in that first picture. So much joy. As others have mentioned, that final picture is heartbreaking. John looks so tired and withdrawn. That picture gives me a vivid mental image of all the stuff you wrote in the previous post.

Thanks for putting up the pictures.

Anonymous said...

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Your children are so beautiful. Those pictures are priceless. Thank you for sharing something so personal with us. As the mother of two small children, your experience has taught me how precious life is.

Michele (Moosh) said...

I can't even talk right now.
My fingers can't even talk.

Sending love and lots of it.

Roads said...

The end of life is so hard to contemplate. The last picture we have captures so much of the moment, and yet so few of the emotions.

Looking at your picture, and your smile as you read to Maddie, I can remember, I can sense and I can still feel the almost superhuman strength it took to keep the whole thing going.

Like you, I have mixed memories when I look at our last picture, and when I compare it to the Elizabeth Taylor smile of the delivery room just ten months before.

"Her thin, pale face speaks of so much suffering – and you’d know that if it were your wife, your mother, or your daughter – however much you loved them, you couldn’t want them to endure that very much longer."

And how heartbreaking and yet how true that is, even now.

I'm so sorry, Snick.

Jane said...

Those pictures tell such a sad and moving story. Thanks for sharing them.

kerry said...

Ugh. Just want to say sorry.

Sandy said...

Oh Snick, I was just crying reading your post. Nobody should have that experience. I'm so sorry.

Catherine in Chicago said...

What a beautiful family. Big hugs and peace to you and your lovely twins.

Thank you so much for your blog. Your eloquent writing can move me to tears and put a huge smile on my face, sometimes in the same post!

I suppose we're strangers, but please know that someone in Chicago holds you and your babes in her thoughts every day!

(just peeked but haven't read your moving post, good luck!!!)

Ellen said...

This post has floated around my mind every since you published it. Whatever words I could put together seemed woefully inadequate, which is probably why I rarely comment. Still, thankful for your words and the voice you give. Beautiful, just beautiful, and heartbreaking.

Congrats on the move.

moonbaby said...

In tears as I leave you this comment. It's my first time visiting and I just want to thank you for sharing your pain, joy and love. It's beautiful and so is your family.

~ Jolene said...

*sigh* beautiful family.