Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Think about it do you ever see anyone taking pictures in a chemo room or ICU? Not the places you want to capture memories. They are not "Kodak Memories" you normally think of. These are places you want to forget. But what if that is all you have? What then? Do you stop wanting memories?
Cancer makes you hate to take pictures, but you are also afraid to not take them. You worry that if you don't take any pictures then you won't have any memories. I don't want to forget Andrea, and I want to have a picture to look back on. But then taking a picture knowing it could be the last one you take makes you not want to take a picture. Part of you does not want to take the picture because of the thoughts it brings. But part of you wants to take it wanting to capture a memory in our life.
In every way getting the camera out is a reminder of cancer. In a way I want to tell cancer this is not the end and just to prove the point I take the picture. You say "I have no fear" by snapping the picture. But deep down you do. You think this may be my last image of her. I can't help but think these thoughts when I look through the viewfinder and see Andrea. I wish I was just taking a picture, but I'm not.
Sometimes I want to capture the ordeal of cancer. These are times I wish I could forget but they are our times nonetheless. If we had stopped taking pictures then we would have nothing to look back on over the last four years, and that I would always regret. There would be this huge gap in our photo albums, times forgotten, so I force myself to take out the camera, even in the chemo room and ICU. I know people must think I'm crazy. But I really try to think of it has just capturing our life right now. Not the end, just a phase. Cancer has shaped us in many ways and it will always be a part of us. As much as I hate cancer, we are intertwined. So I take pictures in a way to say I won't give in, that I'm just living life like any of you. It's just so happens that our pictures are taken in hospitals and chemo rooms.
This is just a weird dynamic that is seldom talked about but its on my mind every time we get the camera out. Maybe I just think too much.
Anyway I took some pictures this week. This one is from outside Andrea's room looking in. To me it shows the complexity of the ICU, the loneliness, Andrea's frailty but also her strength. It shows the enormity of the fight she is in. It is a picture of faith. It is a picture of hope. It is a picture of my wife. I hope it was not the last.
Posted by Jim Ravella