A Lifetime of Memories Captured
Today I would like to introduce you to our dear family friend, Shari Felich. Way back in September, Shari took pictures of my family. It was an incredibly sweet time for all of us to be together and celebrate our Daddy who is slowly slipping away from us. Thank you, Shari, for capturing these moments that we will treasure always and for sharing your thoughts in this place!
I love taking pictures.
Now that I think about it, as a youngster I always loved grabbing
my camera (albeit on an old Kodak Vintage 124 Instamatic). There has always been
something so intriguing about capturing a memory with a photo. I have moved up in the
world of cameras and a few years ago was given a “hand-me-down” Canon Digital
Rebel. I loved it. A year later, the same person was upgrading and basically gave me
their old one. I moved up again in the Digital camera world. It certainly isnʼt the best
camera out there, but it is a great camera. I love it. From that day on, I prayed that God
would give me opportunity to serve Him through the gift of my camera. I must admit,
Iʼve never taken any classes and Iʼm not very good with all the technical ins and outs of
photography, but I am good at seeing something I know will make a memory. I think
anyone can take great pictures when you look through a camera with an appreciation
for what you are photographing.
So when I was asked by my dear friend, Janey, (Beckyʼs sister) to capture some family
photos of the three girls and their parents, I quickly said “of course, Iʼd love to.” What I
didnʼt expect were the feelings I had leading up to taking those cherished photos. I
have taken lots of pictures over the years, but mostly of my children. Iʼve done the
whole clown and dance routine to try to get little kids to smile, make a fool of myself to
get a child to look, etc. As the day drew near to take the Mills family pictures, I realized I
had never taken pictures of anyone suffering from dementia (“Daddy Mills”). I started to
panic a bit, wondering if I had taken on something I couldnʼt do. I spoke with a lady in
our church who has a true heart for older people and has done a lot of home health
care. She suggested singing hymns during the photo shoot if I sensed “Daddy” was
uneasy or nervous. I ﬁgured if I could make a fool of myself in front of children, I could
make a fool of myself singing hymns and I knew three sisters who would not laugh at
me! As I prayed during the weeks before we were to take pictures, God gave me a
peace and a calm reassurance that He had given me this camera for a reason. I knew
he would give me what I needed to take those photos.
The day approached. It was a cold, overcast day. I was to meet “Daddy”, Mom, and
the three sisters at the local Arboretum. The day called for a chance of rain. After
talking with Janey, we both decided it would be better to move our photo shoot to our
lovely church, Redeemer Presbyterian. I am more comfortable taking outdoor pictures
than indoor, as you donʼt have to worry as much about lighting. But again, the Lord
gave me peace. We met at the church and the fun began. I must say, I was glad I was
behind the camera at times, to hide my tears. “Daddy” Mills was great. He smiled
whenever I asked him to. He was at peace. He seemed to enjoy the time with his
daughters and wife. We moved him to several different places. His steps were unsure,
he was slow to move, but he never complained and in fact seemed to love it. What a
blessing to be in a church, where he had spent so much of his life. What an answer to
prayer that the day was rainy and we had to change locations.
Toward the end of our photo shoot, I had the idea to seat him in a chair and take a
picture of our beautiful cross in the background. I canʼt explain it, but the moment he
sat down, his demeanor changed. He relaxed, he smiled, he looked at me ready for the
picture. His hands were folded gently on his lap and I knew he was where he felt
comfortable – in church, at the foot of the cross. It was a beautiful moment for this
photographer. Iʼm not sure I will experience anything like it again. I thanked the Lord
right then for my camera and the love he has put in my heart for capturing moments like
I have learned so much over the years – me and my camera. One thing is for sure,
when I look through that viewﬁnder, I see a beautiful world God has created. And even
though things are not as they will be in Heaven, I can rejoice that He gives us moments
and memories such as these. These pictures are but a reminder of Godʼs amazing
grace and love He has for his children.
These may be the last family pictures taken, or maybe not. What a joy and blessing to capture the love these three sweet sisters have for their Mom and “Daddy.” I was the one blessed that day. What an amazing
opportunity to capture those treasured smiles, worn hands folded over a Bible, sweet
“Daddy” and Mom walking out of the church together as they have so many years in the
past, family members seated around the piano, and even an unexplainable peace in
those that are caring for their husband and Daddy.
To God be the glory!