Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Not Pictured.

Do not stand at my grave and weep:
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starshine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry:
I am not there; I did not die.

The loss of someone so close to me is hard to articulate. My uncle Mark saw himself as my surrogate father for my entire life, and in many ways he truly stepped into that role. Since the moment I was born he has been right beside me, supporting and challenging me. The word "loss" feels right. Without the option to call and hear his voice, I do feel lost.

While I rarely talk about my family, I wanted to share these photos and my thoughts. The day after I learned of Mark's passing, I immediately thought of this trip to visit him. These photos embody so much of Mark. While they are not photos of him (I don't have many of those), they don't need to be. Mark was always just outside of the frame, filling each moment with his presence.

This trip was to Santa Barbara. We rented a car and drove up the Pacific Coast Highway, with days of wine tastings and exploring ahead of us. Notably, this trip held many moments with horses, including a trail ride at a local ranch. The highlight, however, was Mark encouraging me to reach out to an old contact of mine who taught at a local stable. This person put me in a borrowed helmet and boots, then threw me on a horse and sent me out to jump in a ring with one of the most gorgeous views I've ever seen.

While the ride itself wasn't particularly memorable (outside of the view, wow), the moment reminds me how much Mark pushed me out of my comfort zone. He encouraged me to make connections, be brave, and always try.

I'll miss your shadow in my photos, Mark. I hope I never miss your push to get out there and take them.
I love you.

14 comments:

  1. Big hugs to you and your family.

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  2. I'm so, so sorry for your loss. Much love to you and your family.

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  3. All of the love to you, my friend. (And maybe some mac 'n cheese, too.)

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  4. I am so sorry. What a beautiful tribute. ((((Hugs))))

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  5. SO very sorry to hear about this friend. My dad will welcome him with a beer, whereever they are.

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  6. All the hugs. So sorry for your loss <3

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  7. So incredibly sorry for your loss </3

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  8. I am so, so sorry for your loss. :(

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  9. Many big hugs my friend and also a drink for you and Uncle Mark.

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