Many, many months ago, well before the incident of September 20, I gave Ethan, my 6 year old son, my digital camera, because I had upgraded to a new one. He loves to take pictures, and it's fun to see what he snaps photos of.
Normally his pictures are really random... toys, the dogs, the TV, or just random blurs as he runs through the house. Tonight, as I sat with him on his bed right before bedtime, I took the camera and started looking at the various photos. There are approximately 200 pictures on that camera. I was flip- flip- flipping through them, pretty fast, when I suddenly slowed down. He had snapped photos of Leslie when she was in the hospital. Days after being off the ventilator, but still very early in this whole journey.
There is no denying the photos are nowhere near professional...they are a little blurry and at strange, 6 year old boy-type angles, but to me, they take me back. There is a picture that perfectly captures all those days where Leslie had such a blank look in her eyes. Her actions were extremely child-like and impulsive. He got one photo where you can see me trying to shoo her hands away from pulling off her monitors (and she did that SO many times!) and another where she is staring blankly into space and I am rubbing her hands. We did a lot of rubbing in those early days. It was one of the very few things we could do to try to keep her calm.
You can see the worry and love in our faces, and the emptiness in her face. It takes me back to those days were we longed for something - anything- familiar from her, and got so little back. It takes me back to the night where Jay and I quietly left her room, quite late into the evening to head home to our kids, and my mom followed us, crying, asking if she would ever get better. It takes me back to the day I left the hospital with my parents, and my dad, crying, saying "I just want to hear her say "Hi, dad"... and all she does is mumble now".
They are terrible, beautiful, haunting, memorable pictures. Thank you, Ethan, for giving me that reminder of what we have now, and how far we have come.