The photo of Katie that gets the most comments is the one that Paul Dudley took of us just before Andrea and Mike's wedding, last August 2nd, as the girls were all getting dressed and ready to walk down the aisle. It's posted on the right side of the blog.
Katie and I had our wedding clothes and makeup on, and we were relaxing on Chuck and Cheri's (Andrea's parents') bed. Paul told me later that the photo was taken in one 60th of a second. You could call that a "split second." It was a tiny fragment of time, in which we relaxed together, our faces touching, our eyes closed.
I have a copy of that photo by our bed, and it is often the last thing I see before I go to sleep. It stands between two figurines: one of a mother embracing her daughter in the protective circle of her arms, and the other, a woman holding a golden heart over her own heart. These three images form a tableau that speaks more than I can put into words. I feel a deep longing when I look at it: longing for the touch of Katie's skin, her scent, her silky hair that was just growing out again, her sparkly green eyes looking into mine, her beautiful smile, her presence. I miss her joy, but I don't miss her suffering. I wish I could have protected her from the cancer and the suffering; I know I did the best that I could for her. I hold her deeply in my heart as a precious gift.
The closeness that we shared is profound. It doesn't come forth in words, easily. We have always been a close family; the four of us loved to be together. We chose to give up our home and go to live in one room together, rather than be separated during Katie's treatment & recovery. We prefer each other's company to most anyone else's, and always have. But the intimacy of Katie's treatment, surgery and supporting her recovery were different than anything I have ever experienced, even childbirth. It was a unique teamwork situation, and the conditions were unusual. It brought out the best - and sometimes, not the best - in all of us. It brought us closer to one another than ever. And now she is gone. She died two weeks to the day after the photo was taken.
One of our friends asked his daughter what she saw in the photo, and then he answered for her: "Their souls are touching." That is one of the most beautiful and apt descriptions I have heard. It is a privilege to be touched by Katie's soul, and to touch hers. I am thankful for that privilege.
There are other photos that I love from that day last August, but the one on the sidebar is the one that seems to speak to people the most.