Pictures of You

So deep and wide / So clear and bright

I paint your love / With truth and light

I’ll take my time / I’ll get it right

I’ve got forever / To paint my picture of you

Terry Scott Taylor, “Picture of You” from Knowledge and Innocence, 1986

Dearest Rachel –

The song may say I have forever, but of course I don’t. And it’s my own fault, too.

I’ve been contacting so many of our old friends, now flung far and wide, about what happened. After the initial shock, they all ask about the funeral, and how they can participate. Most ask about whether or church can stream it, and, while we have a robust ‘live’ presence online, you know as well as I that it’s all prerecorded, since I’m there running slides for them every other Monday.

So for now, that sort of thing isn’t technologically feasible. However…

Mike has put together a recording of the service. Nothing too fancy, none of the swooping drones and side closeups that they use for the praise team. Just a couple of cameras, one focusing on the podium and the other the piano, to cover what goes on. It’s simple, and doesn’t get in the way of the message.

But I thought it needed something more… personal. A slideshow, with pictures of you.

But your childhood… well, that’s another story.

It’s kind of fortuitous that we have all of your parents’ photo albums here in town, rather than back at your childhood home in Macomb. We brought these up after your mom passed away, in an effort to declutter the place before turning it over to the new owners. And for this many months, they’ve simply been that much more clutter in our place.

We thought we were going to get to them someday.

This is not how I expected someday to come.

My sister Jen put together a bunch of pictures for display in the lobby as people queued up during the visitation. Which included a goodly number of those childhood photos. Your folks had taken good care to write on the back the circumstances of many of these pictures of yours.

The dates, not so much. I mean, you look younger in some pictures than others, so I can make a fair guess as to when they were taken. But honestly, some of them it’s just… if I got it within a year or two, I’d consider myself lucky. Wish you were here to clear all this up.

Actually, I just wish you were here. But you already knew that.

And considering where you are now, that’s awfully selfish of me, isn’t it?

Of course, if I can’t tell what order these photos are supposed to be in, who else is going to call me on this? I might as well put everything together in a by-guess-and-by-golly fashion, and let the chips fall where they may.

Because… I kinda gave myself a deadline. A tight deadline, especially since I have no idea what I’m doing here.

When you basically gave me the opportunity to retire a couple of years ago, I set up shop in my parents’ basement, like most self-respecting internet denizens (ha!). While I wanted to create a YouTube channel, you and I both know that I look like (at best) a fairly well put-together – albeit heavyset – Dr. Emmet Brown. So I started to study animation, which would allow me to communicate online without the embarrassment of a face reveal.

Of course, other assignments came up, like the accounting job for the camp. Dreams could wait – this was a place that needed me. I set aside these new studies, and got working on something I had trained for.

So now, when I need to do something requiring Premiere or even as simple as scanning, I’m flying by the seat of my pants.

And I promised these remote friends that they would be able to see this by Saturday!

I guess the nice thing about these kinds of stressors is that (like with tending to Chompers) it takes my mind off of the fact that you’re gone for a while, even if I am staring at old photos of you. And it’s not a situation where I wish you were here to help, because you wouldn’t know the first thing about these editing programs either.

Well, I’m not finished, but it’s starting to take shape.

Now, I just wish you were here to see it.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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