who knows what tomorrow will bring

Most humans are never fully present in the now, because unconsciously they believe that the next moment must be more important than this one. But then you miss your whole life, which is never not now.— eckhart tolle

this past friday, september 13th, one of the most amazing men to walk this earth unexpectedly died. i called him my "adopted dad". he wasn't really my dad, but he treated me like i was his own child. my kids called him "opa" and they truly believed that he was their grandpa.

we lived in the same city (san diego) as opa for four years. like so many, both oma and opa didn't like their picture taken. so i never forced them, thinking that someday i would get a photo of them with my kids. sadly, that someday is gone and i don't have a single photo of my kids with their opa richard. gratefully i do have some recent photos of richard, from when i photographed their son's wedding.

i share this because i don't want this to happen to you. there is no perfect time, as i shared years ago in this post. and you truly do not know what tomorrow has in store. one day, richard was healthy. the next, at the young age of 64, richard's pulse was gone.

live in the present. celebrate today. make memories. cherish every minute. take photographs. be in the photographs. do it now!! stop waiting for the perfect moment. it will never arrive. there are no perfect moments sweetheart. we choose our moments and i want you to start choosing yours and start choosing now. time will not wait for you and i don’t want you to miss out on your life because you’ve been patiently waiting on the sidelines thinking you have to stay there. you don’t have to sit this life out, your life out. you have a whole field in front of you for you to discover and run around in. it is there for you, let your feet press down on the earth and then start running, start discovering, and never stop. — acoustic imagery

richard truly was one of the kindest, most caring, loving people i have ever met. he gave for the simple love of giving, never expecting anything in return. he was an admired and greatly respected doctor and educator. he could tell a story like no other and listened with the patience of a saint. he loved a good glass of wine and was gifted at completing crosswords. he was a gourmet cook and a skilled craftsman (no project around the house was too big). he touched the lives of all who crossed his path and as a pediatrician, that was A LOT. i wish i had more time with him but i am so lucky and blessed to have had the time that i did. and so i celebrate all the goodness that richard was. i wish you all got to meet him. richard parker walls, thank you for loving me and my family. i celebrate you...

the last photo i took of richard. photographed them while they were relaxing on their back patio, may 2012.

i decided to bring this beautiful comment into the blog post b/c THIS is the kind of man richard was. look at how he affected his patients...

Dr. Walls, as we knew him, was so much more than our 3 children's pediatrician. He was a friend, a teacher, and a coach. Since our daughter's first visit with him 5 years ago, we have grown to love Dr. Walls. He has always taken the time to listen and educate. As back then, I was a first-time new mom, he would answer every question I had, no matter how small or silly they were. He never made me feel dumb for asking, he never rushed me along, and he seemed to truly know everything - but wasn't the least bit arrogant. He taught me so much, not just about the medical aspects of raising children, but their emotional and psychological well-being as well. We went on to have two more children, now 2 1/2 and just 7 weeks old. We just saw Dr. Walls 3 weeks ago and were scheduled to see him next week for our newest angels 2 month check-up. I will never forget that every time he'd leave the room after our visits, he'd say, "keep it up, mom, you're doing a great job." Even though I'm sure he told that to every mom, he was so sincere and those words always meant so much coming from him.

I learned of Dr. Walls passing on Tuesday when I had called the office with a question and I have been in shock and in an endless flow of tears ever since. It just doesn't make sense. He was completely fine and now he is gone. The cruel irony was that when I had to tell my oldest daughter (6) of his passing on Tuesday evening, my first thought was, I wish I could ask Dr. Walls how to go about explaining death to her - as this is her first loss of a loved one. Seeing the shock and sadness on her little face when I told her Dr. Walls went to Heaven and we won't get to see him again, will never leave my mind. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to tell her. I told her that just like whenever she wasn't feeling well before and we'd go see Dr. Walls and he'd help her feel better, now she can pray to him when she isn't feeling well and he'll help. I have absolute faith that he will hear her prayers.

I am so sad that I will never get to tell him just how much he meant to our family...how much my children looked forward to seeing him. I'll never get to thank him for all that he taught me. I'll never get to ask the still pending list of questions that now, as a third-time new mom, I have for him. He was such an integral part of our "team" in raising our children and his loss is tremendous. I already feel so lost without his guidance, his calming, reassuring voice and comforting, supportive words. I still can't believe that I'll never get to see him again.

These pictures that you've posted are beautiful and I can't thank you enough for giving me the chance to see his warm smile once again. I only pray that somehow he knows how amazing we all think he was - how incredibly grateful we all are for the privilege of having him in our lives. Though my heart is broken for my own family's loss, I can't imagine the pain of his wife and sons. Absolutely devastating to lose Richard from this earth. I still can't stop the tears... I will keep you all in my prayers. God bless.