Adding LIFE to your years and years to your life!
Not long after Chuck died…I cannot remember if it was in the 3 days before the funeral or in the days following…I had been out for my run and I passed the place where I had first photographed him in his wheelchair. I thought about the day we were out for a walk and the image we captured with the camera.
I remembered that day so vividly. We were both happy and up-beat as he had anticipated getting the chair from a neighbor and we talked about how I would take him out for a ride in it. Even though the day was far too brisk for him to be out in and we had some very serious conversation (even tearful) on the way back home….this is the image we captured on that day.
This photo was taken in the last week of December. We knew he was dying…yet we were smiling.
That morning on my way out to run, as I passed this area and reflected on this photo, I asked myself….”What the heck were we so happy about?” Then I began to think of all the photos we had taken since knowing he was so ill and how each one was filled with smiling, happy faces. I remembered how we purposed to take as many photos as possible, knowing the inevitable event that was on our horizon.
Chuck had just stopped working 2 days before this photo was taken. We knew it would probably be our last anniversary together. We smiled because we were still in love after all these years. We smiled to capture the love we shared.
I know we were happy here because the week before this was taken, he had his first paracentesis and the diuretic he was taking had started working and he was feeling so much better than he had in weeks.
Of course our smiles here were due to the joy of having our children all together.
By Thanksgiving time….he had the love of friends bringing gifts from afar.
How he loved that recliner!
He smiled every time I pulled that camera out because he knew I wanted as many photos as possible….before….the end. He was always a good sport. Wellllllll……MOST of the time…..
I might of pissed him off here.
He was a good sport and smiling all the way through a juice fast we tried to help his body as much as we could.
Some of the best smiles were around the youngest children and the grandchildren.
The next photo will be the last one of he and I smiling together….
Just a couple of weeks later…it was getting very hard for him to smile…..
The above photo was just 12 days before he died.
Then he got to the point where he could not smile…even when I asked him to.
And the very last photo…neither of us were able to smile. The end was so near…
February 29th…8 days before he died….
The next smiles we would have were the night he slipped away.
I smiled for joy that his suffering ended and as his spirit drifted further and further into the heavens, a beautiful smile came on the body he left behind. I will never forget the sight of it. The smile on his face carried me through the next three days leading up to the funeral. It gave me strength and assurance, peace and hope and joy. That image, which is only in my memory and my heart, will keep me smiling for a long time to come.
In loving memory of the man who always made me smile…who smiled with me, at me and for me when need be…
Chuck Niewadomski 8-18-50 to 3-8-12
Why am I still smiling? Because he taught me how.