“She will stay with the mystery for as long as she can, until the glory takes her home.”
Those were the words he spoke as he lovingly looked upon his mother lying on her death bed. “She is ready to pass, comfortable with what will come next.”
He is tall with black skin, old rough hands, deep voice that sounds akin to a Shakespeare being performance. He will sit in vigil at her bedside for the remainder of her breath.
The conversation goes on to discuss his mother's favorite book of the Bible “The Book of Ester”. The Rabbi who is with us smiles as he hears her choice. He reminds us the book of Ester is the only book of in the Bible that does not mention the word God in any form. That is the mystery, he tell us: to see the presence of God when there is no mention of him. The word Ester in Hebrew is literally translated to mean "mystery", he tell us.
This gentle lady lies asleep, curled up in the fetal position as we are having this conversation. Her breaths are shallow followed by a long pause before the next breath. Before her illness she lived as an elder in her church. Today she is at peace with the mystery of God. Today “The Glory” is waiting for her.
I’m seated across the room from her and her son. I listen, smile politely and in my mind I am framing up a photograph that I will never get to take. I think about how important this photo could be...what it could have meant. If only.
What is your legacy? Will this photo be of service? I think about this when I take a photo.
Will it live to be shown at the time of death? Will it live to be shown at the great-grandkids' wedding table? Photos are powerful tools of healing. Every funeral, wedding or family gathering that I attend the first thing I do is look at the photos that are being displayed.
At most funerals and weddings there is a table that shows the generations that have passed onto the glory. I see the legacy that is left to comfort, heal and bring smiles to the family members who gaze upon them.
This is what I honor and cherish about photography; that my work (if it's good enough) will live on to be of service for generations to come. I love this feeling.
The true death is the last time that your name is spoken out loud and the last time a photo is set out in remembrance of you.
What is your legacy?