I needed to go out and shoot this morning and I asked Mom if she wanted to join me. She was enthusiastic and ready to go. She was much lighter now and feeling much, much better. We went down to Fall Creek this morning.
Mom was an observer rather than a participant today. She never had much luck with a camera and it was more enjoyable for her to just be out than it was to take pictures. I didn’t argue because I remember the history of Mom’s battles with the camera. Here is one example taken during World War II. This is my younger brother and me. Our Dad was off in the Pacific with the Navy and Mom wanted to send him a picture of his boys. We were decked out in our winter gear and facing the camera. Mom fidgeted with that infernal machine and after a few minutes Rob and I got more interested in what was behind us. Mom meanwhile was either so intent on the mechanics of picture taking that she didn’t notice which way we were facing or she just gave up.
Over the years her skill at cooking, raising two boys, participating in community life, playing the piano and many other things all improved but her picture taking didn’t. So I was happy for her to just be along for the experience this morning. So was she.
I have to tell you that Mom died in body if not in spirit this morning at 3:00. She was 95 years old and her body had been shutting down over the last few weeks. She was not ambulatory for the last week or so. So last night her body finished its task and closed down. I was called at 3:15 and I went over. She was at peace. The last thing to go was her smile. This was her trademark. Before she was so ill I would take her for rides in a wheelchair around Westminster Village North where she lived. It is a sizable facility and there are lots of people. But just about everyone knew Clara Lively because as I wheeled her around she gave everyone a cheery wave and a ‘Hello, dear!’ People would light up when they saw her coming. And the smile lasted to the end.
My way of coping includes going out to shoot. Before I set out this morning I thought I would love to have Mom go with me in spirit if by no other means. And I got the feeling that she would have loved to go too. So she was with me. Walking along Fall Creek we came to the I465 bridge over the creek. It is a substantial bridge and large enough that the light under it is quite diffuse and often interesting. There was a strip of rocks which would guide rain water away from the base of the bridge and usually there are leaves and other random objects there and they can be interesting to photograph. I looked all along the strip of rocks and there was nothing else there but the feather above. Nothing particularly remarkable about a feather being there. Except that there was nothing else of interest. And Mom’s nickname since she was small was Bird.