Life Well-Lived

My husband’s grandfather passed away this past weekend, and his funeral is today.  I only met George Blazin twice, but he was the kind of person who you could immediately tell was a legend in his own lifetime.  A brave and intrepid force for good, he never sat around and just let things happen.  During my last conversation with him, he told me about working in his garden with his walker in one hand and a hoe in the other – “You can either sit around, or get up and do something.”  And get up and do something he did, all his life, accomplishing some astonishing things.  Even spending a few minutes talking to him made you think twice about how you spend your time, because he exemplified a productive, hardworking life without neglecting love for his neighbor or his family.

The thing I liked most about meeting him was seeing where my husband gets some of his amazing qualities – including unfettered kindness, particularly for those who need help, unbounded sweetness towards his wife, and a determination to make things happen rather than just talk about them.  Although I’m sad that he passed away, I know he’s having a joyful reunion in heaven, with celebrations happening both here and there for a beautiful life well-lived.

Although this post isn’t really about photos, I have one thing to say.  The above image was taken one late morning at a beachfront family reunion we had over Thanksgiving.  Everyone happened to be out of the house, and Danny’s grandparents were standing on the balcony watching their grandchildren and great-grandchildren play.  There were over 60 family members at the reunion, and the numbers on the backs of our T-shirts reflected where you were in order by age (I was #35).  When I saw them standing there, I loved the symbolism of it – we wouldn’t all be here together if these two hadn’t first fallen in love and gotten married 70 (yes, seventy!) years ago.

Because this was ostensibly also a vacation, I wasn’t carrying my big heavy camera everywhere.  When I saw them on the balcony, I knew what a great shot it would make, one that might be meaningful someday.  I didn’t really “feel like” going all the way upstairs, unlocking all the doors along the way (the whole place was regulated by keypad entries), digging around for my camera, and running back downstairs, re-locking behind me.  They might not even be in that spot when I got back, I thought.

But something told me to, so I set down my beach towel and ran upstairs as fast as I could.  I snuck behind them and took the image just as a seagull swooped by on the right.  I don’t even think they knew I was there.

You can guess whether or not this ended up being worth the trouble.

I’ll close with this thought for the holiday season:  Getting out the camera isn’t always convenient.  And you definitely can’t live through your camera; there are times when you should put it down and just be present in the moment.  But sometimes, it’s worth a tiny bit of extra inconvenience to have it out, to corral people together, to get out of your chair and take a photo.  Because years later, you won’t remember the inconvenience.  But you will have the image.

Wishing everyone much time with loved ones and many beautiful moments this holiday season.


Jan Buerge - December 19, 2012 - 8:24 pm

I am so glad I’ll get to keep reading your lovely blogs even though you won’t be living close. What a beautiful tribute to your husband’s grandfather.

Blessings to you all!

Nik - December 19, 2012 - 10:15 pm


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