The following article is powerful and deeply touching.
It was written by my friend David Matthews. He does a workshop for people working through grief. It could be the grief of losing a loved one to death. It might be the grief of losing a loved one to another person. If you, or someone you know, is working through grief for any reason, I strongly recommend you contact David. You will find his info at the end of this article which may well change your life….
The Photographers, by David Matthews
It was the day of our grandson’s birth, and death. Friends and family had gathered to offer their love, prayers, hopes, and support. The waiting room was full.
I knew most of the people there, except for one couple sitting quietly, with cameras around their necks. Our son came over to us and wanted us to meet them. “Dad, talk to them. You will be glad you did.”
So we did. Their story didn’t take long to share; but its impact has and will inspire many for a long time.
They had five children, all of whom had died. They were professional photographers, and were there fulfilling their mission. For years they had been quietly going about their work – they took pictures of babies and their families when the doctors thought the baby would never leave the hospital alive. And then if the family wanted the disc of pictures, they gave it to them, totally free of charge. No charge for their time; no charge for anything.
So that’s what happened. Josiah was born, and shortly thereafter he died. The extended family was escorted into the delivery room, where we took turns holding a precious little boy. We cried and hugged each other, and gently touched Josiah David.
And as we mourned, a couple with the deep scars and the unbearable pain in their hearts from losing five children went about taking picture after picture. We hardly noticed them there. They were good at what they did.
After about 30 minutes, we left the room so Josiah could be alone with his mother and father. We passed the couple, and said the obvious – thank you. They acknowledged our feeble attempts to say the right thing.
Funny thing, I did not have to ask them why they did this. No one did. We all knew. They did it because they had to.
Years ago I had defined a hero as someone who could play a game better than most. My first hero was Eddie Mathews, a baseball player from the 50’s and 60’s. He was my hero because our last name was the same, and when I first met him he acted as if I was important to him. I got his autograph seven times.
I never got my new heroes’ autographs, at least not in the traditional sense. I got much more than that. In our room, we have beautiful pictures of a little boy, our first grandson. And every time I look at them, which is every day, I think of a couple with cameras hanging around their necks. Those are the autographs I will always keep.
As I write these words, tears still come quite easily. I am not ashamed of those tears, nor do I think they will never resurface. But the tears are not just tears – the tears have turned into a flame.
The Spark of Life Foundation was conceived and born out of tears; out of broken hearts. This foundation is for those who have experienced overwhelming loss of any kind, and thus intense grief. Our first phase is to provide Grief Recovery Retreats to those who have experienced loss. As our brochure states – ‘Spark of Life exists to instill hope in the griever, that though life will never be the same after a devastating loss, life can still be rich and fulfilling.’
Those who have such losses are battered and bruised. At times the sense of being overwhelmed consumes them. So at Spark of Life, retreats are offered at no charge. All food, lodging, and materials are graciously provided by others. All one has to do is to ‘get there.’ Our prayer is that many who need hope will ‘get there.’ Check out our Website at www.sparkoflife.org. Call us at 501-207-1368.
Come experience tears to flame.