No ranting this time, promise. I kinda hit a big funk. I think everyone decided to give us space to grieve….and it felt like we had been kind of forgotten. A few people realized this and came over to chat for awhile with me, which I loved. Nothing feels better than to be able to just talk about my family, especially about Joe. In the last week or so, I have been contacted by several of Joe’s friends. One had a son….and named him Julian Joseph. Another couple got married and in the collage of photos of relatives in Heaven who were missed by the couple on their special day….was a photo of my Joe. And then there was another set of friends who texted me as one of them got Joe’s OFD firefighter badge tattooed on his back…”so that he always knew that Joe had his back.” Those things really touch me. It is going to be a rough weekend and hearing stories about him from his friends and being able to talk about him helps. I did go to a different church this past weekend and it was wonderful. I knew the priest and one other person there. No one else knew Lily or me and we met a lot of very nice people. It was a gospel Catholic church and I loved it. I felt the Holy Spirit just moving through the Church and then in its members. Rich has been out of town for the last week to spend time in Florida with his parents. This weekend we were supposed to go on a trip with Michelle and Joe. The plans had been on our calendar for awhile. We asked Michelle if she wanted to still come, but that is a big ask…and I know it. She won’t be accompanying us but we’ll still be coming to see her on Friday….the 2 month anniversary of Joe’s death. I, again, can’t wait to just be able to put my arms around her and hold her close. So for those of you who felt that I had lost my mind in the last post…I haven’t, I just have a broken heart and that gets tiring to live with…trying to cope with the utter devastation alone. I have found that being able to just go and take photos is like therapy for me. I often feel like Joe is at my side, seeing the sights with me. Joe was such an avid supporter of my photography. He loved the fact that I saw beauty in naked, scraggly trees. He wanted me to get my photos out on instagram and get noticed. I was really looking forward to teaching him some basic photography. He wanted to get a nice camera and learn to use it before he and Michelle had kids. So going out and taking photos makes me feel like he is with me and it helps me a little bit.
Thursday morning of last week, I dropped Lily off at school and headed to Lincoln to the Sunken Gardens. In the early spring, the Sunken Gardens start off with loads of tulips. I love tulips. Last year they had a tons of candy cane tulips with white and red stripes. They were gorgeous. They never do anything the same though, so this year had a different color scheme. I found a section that was all white tulips….except for one tulip, which had a blood red half a petal. It was striking in the sea of white….and there is a message from God in there somewhere. I pointed it out to another photographer and it became the most photographed tulip out there. I drove around a bit and saw some interesting buildings I stopped to photograph. I got a few shots of the Nebraska capitol building and then an interesting church with beautiful trees covered in white blossoms. I followed a cardinal’s call into the white flowered trees in the courtyard and ended up on one of the benches, just having a chat with God under these beautiful trees as the breeze blew and showered me gently with the white petals. As I was leaving, I stopped to take one more photo of the building and I heard this chattering noise. There was a sassy little squirrel in a flowering tree about 10 feet in front of me. I talked to him, he chattered at me, and we had an impromptu photo shoot – and they are some of my favorite photos I have ever taken. They just make me smile. I then headed to Mahoney State Park and climbed the tower to take a few photos. Since it was right around the corner, I also went to the Wildlife Safari. It is a part of the Henry Doorly Zoo….but not anywhere near the zoo…in fact, it is about 30 minutes drive away. They have some eagles that cannot be released into the wild….some elk and buffalo herds…wolves and black bears. I spent the entire day out taking photos….and got back into town just in time to pick up Lily from school and get to my zumba class. That was our last sunny day before 5 days of rain (which we desperately need). So here is a big photo dump of some of the photos I took last Thursday on my “save my sanity day”.