A couple weeks ago we meet with Lizette from Capturette Photos http://www.capturettephotos.com by the train depot down town to take some family photos. I wanted to come up with a creative and meaningful way to include our son Titus who passed away at birth May 17, 2011. He has been in heaven for almost 6 years now. I have seen photos like these floating around the internet and I knew this was what I wanted to do. I feel so emotional looking at this because I get to show the world how we see our family. We do not see us as a family of four, we see our family as a family of five.
In the past I have held a lily of the valley (May’s birth flower) in memory of Titus in our family photo’s. I didn’t like it as much though because while I was holding it and looking at the camera I didn’t know whether to smile or cry. I liked this pose and actually copied it exactly from one I saw on-line because you can not see the emotion on our faces. It just looks like our family. What hit me so emotionally was that the shadow of the little boy is looking up at me. I guess I didn’t expect that. It looks so playful, just as I imagine Titus. It makes me wonder, does he miss me too? I see some indications in scripture that the answer could be yes. There are people in heaven asking God ‘how long’? I don’t want to yank that out of context and apply something to it that isn’t there but judging from that passage in Revelation it seems the saints in heaven are in anticipation for everything to be made right and new like we are.
I’ve titled this photo, ‘a shadow of things to come’ (Colossians 2:17).
This is one I’m going to get printed to hang up in our home. I’ve really wanted to hang up photos of Titus but I go back and forth about it. I have a friend who when you walk in her home she has the beautiful photos of her daughter done by now I lay me down to sleep http://www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org beside the photos of her other daughter. It’s stunning and beautiful and heart breaking all at the same time. For me, when I put up photos of Titus it’s just too much. It’s too real, he’s too “there.” It feels like I can reach out and touch him but then I can’t and the grief becomes paralyzing. This photo is a little less real, it’s a form and shape that represents him but I can’t see his cleft chin or how much he look like me or any of the details that I carry in my heart but are too painful to have constantly before my eyes but out of reach. Expressions are grief are unique to each individual and my own expressions of it vary at different times.
For the first few years, I had photos of him up everywhere, I didn’t go any where without a photo of him incase an opportunity came to show off my beautiful son. Over time though, it became more raw than comforting. I pull out his photos occasionally but I don’t really need to. Every detail of the few photos I have I have memorized. Each moment of interaction I had with him, his body, I play as a movie in my mind, I feel the weight of him in my arms. I still remember his scent and I can smell it when I think of him. The way his hair and skin felt on my lips. I can recall what he felt like laying on my chest.
Anyways, this is already more than I intended to write about this.
We see through a glass darkly my sisters and brothers, but one day these dark shadowy forms will turn into clear understanding. We’ll worship our God and to quote Stephen Curtis Chapman, “And we’ll sing holy, holy, holy is our God And we will finally really understand what it means..”
When I first heard that song I thought it meant we will understand what our circumstances and tragedies mean but later I realized that was not what he was saying. He’s saying we will say, “holy is our God” and we will finally understand what that means. We will finally see God in all His holiness and nothing else will matter.