This picture still gives me a little bit of a chill each time I look at it. It evokes so many varied emotions each and every time. Yet every time almost seems as though it's the first time I'm looking at it. Such a surreal feeling that I still don't want to believe that it's true. That's just so incredible to me. Here we are 6 months later and I keep thinking that the next time I go to Popoo and Grandma's house that Popoo will still be there. Even though I know he has moved on to a much better place.
I know I stated this before in an earlier tribute to Popoo before, but it's definitely worth repeating. I did not ever want there to be the day that Popoo wouldn't be here with us any longer. He was one of those one constants that I always enjoyed having in my life. I could always count on going to Kansas City and visiting Popoo and Grandma's house in the Quindaro neighborhood. Always seeing his face light up as soon as I entered their home. Hearing his quiet laugh as if every visit was my first. For someone that doesn't smile much at all, Popoo never had any problem getting a smile from me.
Attending Popoo's homegoing was a very odd sensation. It was something that I was anticipating due to how sick he had been. I knew it would come at a time that I had XL-Images under way so that I would be able to accurately memorialize the event. Yet it was definitely something I was not looking forward to. Would I be able to focus properly knowing the real reason I was there?
I was on my game for the most part during the day. I knew the event would be one of the few times that so much family would get together that hadn't seen one another in a while. Therefore, I wanted to make sure I would get some great photos. Unfortunately, I discovered that I forgot to properly adjust my light settings after leaving the cemetery. As a result, most of the family photos that I took at the church afterwards didn't come out anywhere near how I would have liked them. At least I was still able to get some incredible ones beforehand. Including this most important one.
Popoo's homegoing was the first time I had been to one where they did the whole flag presentation thing. I just wish they had gotten it right the first time so the flag didn't come undone. Regardless of how long it took them to get it right, I took the opportunity to capture the precise moment it got to Grandma. I was strategically located outside the tented area so I wouldn't be intruding on the moment. I utilized my telephoto lens to zoom in at just the right time.
It dawned on me the moment that I snapped the photo why this particular image was so special to me. All the time that I have known Grandma and I never fully appreciated what a strong woman she is. Her rock of nearly three quarters of a century was gone. Family all around her was visibly shaken with emotions overcome by the enormity of his physical absence. Yet she remain visibly unfaltered. I don't know what was crossing her mind at that moment but to me it was like she was soaking in the fact that she had just become the family's rock...