Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Finding Solace in the Sky

by Kelly

This past Thursday, my dad was admitted to the hospital for pneumonia.  In the wee hours of Friday morning he was having so much trouble breathing that he had to be taken to the ICU where he was intubated and put on a ventilator. I got the call Friday morning, then immediately went to pick up my mom to head to the hospital.  I took this photo of the sunrise with my iPhone while sitting at a stop light.

My dad steadily improved and by Saturday afternoon he was able to get off the ventilator.  And I am happy to report that yesterday was moved out of ICU and was able to be taken off oxygen.  Hopefully he will get to come home in a few days...meanwhile our family is incredibly relieved and grateful....grateful for the skilled doctors, nurses, and techs, grateful for the thoughts and prayers of friends and family.

During the course of the weekend, I spent a considerable amount of time at the hospital.  A lot of time was spent sitting and talking with my mom, waiting on doctor's orders, waiting on test results, watching my dad's monitor, observing the activity on the rest of the floor of the ICU.

Friday afternoon, my mom had gone home for a couple of hours to get grab a few things for staying at the hospital.  I was sitting in the chair in my dad's room listening to the gentle drone of the ventilator and the alternating fill and release of the circulation cuffs around my dad's calves.  For all of the frenzy in the ICU, it was a relatively quiet and peaceful moment.

My thoughts turned to my photography...for a half a second I entertained the idea of taking a photo.  But I just couldn't bring myself to do it.  It was too hard.  It hurt too much.

It was the same story on Saturday.  That afternoon though, my mom had urged me to go outside and get some fresh air.  It was a beautiful day - warm and sunny.  A bright blue sky and the promise of spring in the dormant buds on the tree branches.  Another quick snap with my iPhone.

For two days I didn't pick up my big camera.

Understandably, this might not seem like a big deal to you.  But considering that I have taken a photo every single day for the past three years, it seemed odd that I wasn't able to show up to my photography.   For all of my big talk around here about being mindful and learning to see things differently, when push came to shove, I couldn't do it.

Maybe a stronger photographer could have found a way to tell this story - the hospital, the tubes, the wires - better with photos, but quite franky,  I really don't care.  I didn't need to see - I didn't need mindfulness....I was there.  I saw, I was present.  What I needed was comfort.  What I needed was hope.

I don't share a lot here about my personal beliefs, but I am both a religious and highly spiritual person.  And when I need hope, I turn to my faith.  When I need hope, I often look to the sky.

Looking to the sky puts my present circumstances into a little perspective.  It reminds me that there is a much bigger picture outside of my very limited line of sight.  The rising sun gives me hope.  The setting sun encourages trust.

I am so happy to share that my dad is finally out of the ICU and in now on the road to recovery.  I'm sure as time goes on, there will be more time to reflect on the events of this past weekend and their impact of my photography.  But I'm ok with that too.

Once again, I would like to express my family's profound gratitude to all of you for your thoughts and prayers.  They have been a great source of comfort and strength to all of us.

Love, Kelly


Lisa Comperry said...

I was in the same situation this time last year...My mom's illness and complications ran its course over 5-6 weeks and she did not make it....My sister and I took solace in the beauty of sunrises, sunsets, the new fallen snow....The beauty of nature around us was God's way of telling us we were not alone..

kelly said...

oh lisa, i am so so sorry to hear this, but i am glad to know that you felt the comfort of God's presence.

Carol said...

Dear Kelly -no one could have been more present than you were last weekend. You showed up for your father; you showed up for your mother; you showed up for your life , as it happened. There is no joy in looking at or picturing tubes and charts and wires, although we are so glad they keep our loved ones alive. In your brief respite outside, you found God and nature and solace -and a picture or two. I am very sure the "photography gods" will forgive a day off from the routine which, after all, is established by our heads, not our hearts.
I am so glad your father came through it, and pray for his continued recovery.

heyjudephotography said...

I am so glad to hear that your Dad is recovering and will hopefully be home soon. Your post here, and on Minding My Nest have really moved me. I feel the same - looking toward the sky for strength and quiet. I'm glad you were able to find that, and glad that your faith has kept you strong throughout this time. Much love to you and your family Kelly - always. XOXO

Dotti said...

Being present is about more than taking pictures. Sometimes that is the trigger that gets us there; sometimes it's too banal for the situation. I agree with Carol. Personally, I don't care for photos of people in the hospital - unless it's a baby's birth. Those are memories we want to dull, not sharpen over the years. We remember the essence, but not the image. Some images are too painful to be remembered in minute detail. The beauty of your experience is found in the shared love and support which you all gave to one another, in being together. That is where the beauty was and you can't catch that with a camera, it's in your heart. And - so glad your dad is making progress. Keep us posted! We care.

Cathy H. said...

Kelly, I know exactly what you mean about not being able to photograph images in the hospital. I know when my mom was ill and in rehab for three months. I only took one picture of her and where she was. I took a picture of her walking down the hall with her walker. I hadn't seen her walk in over two months. We celebrated that day! Kneeling down in prayer and looking up in gratitude is how we get through those difficult days. I'll continue to pray for your dad and your family. Don't forget to take care of yourself!

Lisa Gordon said...

What a frightening situation, Kelly, and I am so glad to hear that your dad is recovering now.
I probably would not be able to take photographs in the hospital either, but I know plenty of people that do, and they do so, artfully. Just not something I can do.

Take good care of you too!

Carrie Bump said...

I am so thankful he is doing better! Our prayers continue and You are a awesome daughter! I know how much your parents love you!

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