will you ever?

i don’t think you will ever...fully understand how you've touched my life and made me who i am. i don't think you could ever... know just how truly special you are. - erica jong

i have this thing. always have. i'm good at blocking things out. the bad things. the things that have been difficult in my life. i put them in a place, a place where i can't find them and they cannot escape. it's part of my personal survival mechanism in life. how i survived my past. i know...it's not exactly a good thing but i've become very good at it.

well, i have this thing with leaving too. this coping mechanism. if i keep telling everyone that i'll see them again before i go (truly believing that i just might), then i might not have to say an official good-bye. well this all hit me today. as i arranged to meet one of my greatest friends here in san diego, for a last play date together, because she is going out of town tomorrow and if we don't see each other today, i won't see her before we leave.

damn. that screws up my ability to say, i'll see you again before i go. because i won't.

this play date arrangement all happened via email, while i was editing max's family's photos. and all of a sudden it hit me--the moving, the leaving. it hit me like a train and the tears began to uncontrollably flow. i couldn't keep them in that magic place, unable to escape...and i breathed and let them flow.

i have made some of the best friends i have ever had in my entire life, while here in san diego. and while i know for certain that i will see most of them again, it just doesn't matter...this leaving thing just sucks!


long overdue, i am working hard to finish max's family's photos, to get the photos to the them before i leave. in the beginning of the year, i had told andy and melis that i really hoped to do a family photo of them before i left, if and when they were ready. in april, they were ready. i knew they would include max's shark, bruce, in the photos (always), but i had an idea for them to release seven orange balloons--max is forever seven and his favorite color was orange. they agreed. we walked around and shot all over balboa park, one of max's special places. a couple hours later and almost to our cars, melis says, darn, we forgot about the balloons. no worries, just get them and we'll photograph them somewhere here [near the parking lot], i replied.

and we did. i photographed the family releasing seven orange balloons for max to catch and hold onto in Heaven.

while editing the photos this morning, i came across this one, which literally took my breath away. it was my test shot for lighting. i'm not even sure what i focused on in the shot...it was just a test shot. but it wasn't; it turned out to be much, much more than just the test shot. it's like the light is pulling the balloons, calling for them. how did the wind of the balloons and the light of the flare line up so perfectly?  i have to believe it's max's light shining down, letting them know that he's okay. and did andy see it? did he see or sense something that was beyond what he even knew at the time? all the other balloon shots i have...not a hint of wind.

the first shot, just testing the light


the moment the balloons were released, beginning to float away


watching them float to Heaven. to max.

will these people that have come into my life and changed my life forever... will they ever know how much they mean to me? how special they are? how they have become a part of my soul?

i hope so.

max, i miss you little buddy!