A Fighter….

DSC_0916A cliché title for an all too familiar story.  Cancer and the person that it is trying to claim.

I never really knew if I would actually get a chance to take these pictures.  I honestly didn’t think it would come.  I work so much that it is hard on me to drive several hours to visit people.  I mainly want to curly up in a ball to sleep, but that is neither here nor there.  The point is, I rarely get over there and I figured that the next time I was able to…well, I figured it would be too late.  That was never my intent, it just seems to be how my life works out for me sometimes.  Anyway, here is the man.

My uncle.  Mark, early sixties, father of one. He has been battling cancer since 2010.  At least that is when we found out about it and by then it was already stage four.  I suspect he had it for sometime, but he was one of those that rarely went to the doctor.  And now he has more visits than anyone person should ever have to endure.

When the family was first informed, he had stage four liver and colon cancer.  Chemo and surgery appeared to have worked, but then the cancer manifested else where.  That is how it has been since the family found out.  Chemo and radiation, cancer moves else where.  I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t sitting here wondering if this has been the truth.  He doesn’t want people to worry about him; especially, my grandpa-he has enough on his plate.  My uncle has told my dad multiple things that were never supposed to and on other ears, in regards to his health…..my daddy.  Truth be told, you want to keep a secret, you might have better luck telling a small town gossip hen. I kid…kind of.  The trouble is, my dad usually tells my mom and she is the head hen.  But this is not about them.

The chemo is no longer working.  The radiation has been tapped.  Borrowed time is an understatement.  When the chemo and radiation stopped working, he and my dad headed to St. Louis to visit Barnes Jewish Hospital.  They had a trial and he was to see if he qualified.  He did for two separate trial drugs….neither worked.  He was told he needed to see my cousin, in short…he was told to make peace and get closure and say good-byes.  But here, this day, on a sad day for some…he was in good spirits.  Or at least, he faked it.  Told stories. Gave directions.  Acted like there wasn’t a thing wrong that couldn’t be tolerated.

I guess fighter is the best way to describe him. Honestly he is one of the strongest men I know.  He is the third of three of uncles to have cancer and so far the one to last the longest.  I’ve buried two now because of losing battles.  Soon, he will join them, though…he’s on my dad’s side so he will not be sitting at any ghostly tables with the other two.  The table he will be sitting at, will probably have more love and laughter.  Angels singing.  He goes to church regularly when he can.  Helps take care of his ex-wife whom is also battling cancer.  Sang in the church choir until he could no longer.  I’m not saying that he was better than my other two uncles.   My parents just come from two completely different sides of the track and sometimes it is painfully obvious just how different.

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Amazing how different people can come together and get along.  It is possible, though these days you wouldn’t know it by looking around.  It is also so disheartening to see how much cancer really does just tear into us like it is nothing.  I mean, I knew the statistics of cancer related deaths, but I guess I never really thought about it in terms of my family.

As for my uncle, I don’t know what to say.  He was around as I was growing up and I was close to my cousin at the time (not the one he needs to see, this cousin was his stepson at the time), but then he and his wife split up and he eventually moved back to Illinois and we lived in Oklahoma….we would see him during the holidays and that is it, but he’s always been good to me.  So, he really is a good man, a good uncle.  Always around and always lending a helping hand.  The things you are supposed to say about a person.

I don’t know if these will be the last of the pictures that I get to take of him.  I don’t know if I will get to see him again.  When the chemo stops working, borrowed time gets called in on its loan.  I don’t have any pictures of him from before, but I now have these.  It isn’t how one should want to remember a person, but I think that they are as good as anything.   He looks frail, but he doesn’t look sad and he doesn’t look like death is standing next to him.  He was telling his stories and joking around.  Being the uncle that I’ve always known when he’s not mad at the kids.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by and I hope that you like the pictures.  Much like the last ones I posted, I don’t know what I was hoping to convey but I hope that they convey something.

DSC_0900Have a beautiful day and tomorrow.

Montana Rose Photography

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Angelic….

DSC_83412Or maybe ghostly. I do not know.  I’m not a big fan of the word angelic.  I’m not sure why, but it is not a word that I tend to use.  It doesn’t really roll off the tongue very well, but that is just me.  However, is is the only word that I could think of to fit.  That is kind of what this picture reminds me of.  Either way, I like it….hope that you do too.

Have a beautiful day and tomorrow.

Montana Rose Photography

Run Free, Beautiful Girl….

DSC_78802She may not have been mine, but I adored this girl.  Today, she was put to rest due to colic.  I was not there, it is my day off.  I was texted and informed. I didn’t really know what to say.  My emotions are a little drained and I’m a little over bad news.  Here’s to 2018 so far.  I refuse to let this set the tone for the year.

I’m glad that I have these photos and the others that just didn’t seem to fit what I wanted to convey right now.  Her beauty. Her orneryness.  I always pictured her as one of those horses running through the mist of a canyon valley with a Native American princess upon her back. Both of them running free and being wild as can be.  I know that is what she’s doing now.   Run free, beautiful girl. Run free.
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Have a beautiful day and tomorrow.

Montana Rose Photography

She walks through…

DSC_9028the Valley of Death with wings upon her back.  I have never seen that phrase actually written anywhere, but it has been playing in my head for weeks now.  I’ve been meaning to turn it into a poem, but I’ve yet to do so.  Maybe it is because I’m not entirely sure what it is supposed to mean.  Maybe I do and I just fight it, I don’t know.

This post will be long and probably too much for some, I don’t expect anybody to read it.  It is okay.    It’s going to be a little raw and too truthful…at least to an extent.  Again, I expect no one to continue past this point.  It is okay.

I often struggle with the darkness.  It engulfs me way more than the light.  My sister was told once that it is in at least small part to heredity, so I guess I have my genes to thank for my battles.  I try not to blame my “raising” on much, I feel that we have to own a lot of what we are.  I’m realizing that a lot of what I am is because of how I was raised, treated…still am.

Tomorrow I have to attend the burial of an uncle. Yet another one taken by cancer.  It has conflicted me in more ways that I would think would be necessary.  It has a divided a family really.  Over the last year, many things have been said about this particular uncle. One of whom at one time, I was quite close with.  The person whom chose to say these things….she told me a lot of things through my lifetime, over the last year…she has contradicted all of them and changed her story.  Now, I know not what is truth and what is not.  I also realized how what she said, shaped me and not necessarily in a good way.

I don’t think that we truly understand the impact of our words.  How what we can say to someone truly can stick with them. The kind of damage the wrong words can cause.  It is always said that it is on us. How it is react, that is on us.  How it is we take something, that it is on us.  Maybe, but is it really as simple as one would like to say?  I would say that it is much easier said than done.  I’ve tried to rise above, but those words are driven into my brain and reinforced by action.  Even the strongest have their weak points.

Now here I sit with desperation to make this year and all the future years so much better than they have ever been.  To spend a year truly finding me and becoming a much better me.  Yet here I sit, weeks into the new year and a heavy heart because apparently part of that is dealing with all the things that have broken me in the first place.

Why am I sharing this?  Truth is, I don’t know.  I’ve been struggling with blog posting, because I have been struggling with my photography…I think because I’ve been struggling with everything else.  My body aches due to injuries and the unexplained. I have been exhausted and when I look at my photography, I just do not have the energy.  Nor do I truly like what I see.  I feel like I’ve forgotten how to properly take a picture and how to properly edit a picture.  I know that this is probably all in my head, but it is why my post have been limited.   Not that I owe an explanation, but I felt like you deserved one.  I have so many followers and those that have been there since the beginning.  I thank each of you for that.

As for my uncle.  I know that some will be tempted to offer condolences.  Know that they are appreciated, but they are not for me to receive.  I am sad, but I am sad more for the time that has lapse since the last time him and I spoke.  It had been quite some time.  I am sad for the guilt that I feel as in my mourning is really my own selfish loathing.   I am sad for the fact that I am painfully aware of my own mortality these days.  I am sad that I honestly do not know how I should feel about him.  The man I knew is the one that I should be mourning, but the man he is being said to have actually been-that one does not deserved to be mourned.  I am sad for the fact that I have realized that family does not always stick together and that sometimes bridges burn without warning.

I write these words not for sympathy. I do not write them for empathy.  I write them purely for the sake of my own selfishness in attempts to heal in order to become the person that I know I can be that I’ve not been.   The person that so many others say they know.  I say them merely for the sake of saying them, I think.

Then I am taken back to my entrance.  “She walks through the Valley of Death with wings upon her back.”   When I think of this phrase and why it keeps playing in my head, I think that it is because of the darkness and the strength that it would take.  I constantly walk through the darkness and even when I want to, I never give in and I continue to rise above and carry on.  That I’m sure that I could not do without wings upon my back to hold me up.  That sounds ridiculously cheesy, I know but there it is.

If you have made it this far, I cannot express enough thank yous (and apologies).  If you unfollow my blog, I also would not blame you.  Not every post will be like this.  I am hoping that a new me will emerge and better posting and pictures will arise.  Only time will tell.  For now, I bid adieu.

Thank you again.  Have a beautiful day and tomorrow.

Montana Rose Photography

Angles…Perspectives

DSC_0607Or something.   Either way, I’m not sure that I have posted this particular angle of this beauty.  I couldn’t find it any of my “already used” photos anyway.  I’ve also played around with it, so even if I have….it should be different.  Should being the key word.  Just the same, I hope you like him.

Have a beautiful day and tomorrow.

Montana Rose Photography