Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Last night after everyone was in bed, I pulled out a box with dozens of envelopes of photos that I had brought from my late brother’s house. In the quietness of nighttime, I observed Greg’s life from a perspective I didn’t have while he was alive.

These photos were mainly from the time he was married. Wedding photos. Exuberant smiles. Cake and glasses of champagne. Only Greg’s two closest friends and their wives attended Greg’s private wedding ceremony in snow-covered Vermont. Yesterday I glimpsed their joyous party. The sleigh ride. The giddy delight of close friends celebrating.

It pained me that all three couples eventually divorced.

I looked on at other photos. Photos of ski trips. Hotel rooms. A jacuzzi. Ski slopes. Mountains. Driving somewhere with a dog in the car. A ride on a ferry. Orcas. A dinner party. His pet dogs and cats. The view from his lake house – the one he left to his ex-wife. Spectacular sunsets.

I felt like a voyeur going through all those pictures. A smile. A look. A gesture. Moments between two people caught on film. There was nothing indecent, just a depth of feeling that it pained me to see. It pained me because the marriage dissolved. It hurt because Greg will never again smile at anyone. Ever. And he was always smiling, always upbeat.

It was the joy of his relationship, the love and delight that shone through the pictures that pierced my heart.

Sometimes it’s really hard to look at photos.

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What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
— Albert Pike, Scottish Rite Freemason (1809-1891)