Today was a tiny slice of normal. The clouds lifted somewhat, and shreds of blue emerged from behind the corrugated grey clouds as the day wore on. Bustling around doing innocuous errands for most of the day, including trips to two photo labs. I found a dozen rolls of exposed film in our freezer a few days ago, that Jake left. I took them in yesterday for processing and picked them up today. They were from another time, spanning a few years. Thankfully he had the foresight to put the film in the freezer. For a while, he took his little Canonet 35mm camera everywhere, eschewing digital for something more substantial. Going through the pictures I got a glimpse into his life. Documenting concerts, rallies, a camping trip to Joshua Tree where they honored another fallen comrade, Austin Peralta, street scenes, coffee at a sidewalk cafe, a trip to an unknown amusement park, portraits of his friends, the daily travels of a young man wending his way through the world.
I only looked at half of them, I’ll get into the black and whites later. But what struck me, other than this kid possessed an extraordinary eye, was that he was living his life to the fullest at that time. That made me happy. What made me sad, of course, is that journey is now over. He will never again say, “Hey, give me a smile”, while he trips the shutter at the precisely correct instant to capture the essence of whomever he is photographing. Henri Cartier-Bresson called it “The Decisive Moment”, and Jake knew that moment instinctively. By the way, other than he is in the photo, this picture could never have been taken by Jake. The lighting is all wrong.
Evening descended and we had to face another Shabbat. I went to shul to say Kaddish. Part of the evening service is to welcome the Shabbat with songs. I cannot sing now, so I stood in mute silence while the melodies washed over me, eyes brimming full. I returned home to another dinner, courtesy of our dear family, delivered earlier that day. Terry had prepared the table with a clean white tablecloth, the bread covered, the silver Kiddush cup that once belonged to her father sat on my plate expectantly. I poured out the wine, opened the book, took the cup in my hand and, breathing a huge sigh, began to say the blessing. I actually made it through two sentences this week before breaking down. I guess that is progress of a sort.
So is it to be thus? Each week reliving that awful moment when the voice on the phone said, “You aren’t driving in your car, are you?” before delivering the hammer blow that changed our lives forever. Only time will tell. I know an infinity of years will never repair this hole in my heart. This a wound that nothing can heal. I can only learn how to live with it. And hopefully, that won’t take an infinity of years.