I sat down on the rattan sofa with its blue and white stripe upholstered cushions in my backyard, two years ago, the long-awaited funeral of my daughter Celeste then behind me. For months, my days were absorbed with the emotional preparation, the material preparation, the familial preparation of a life-limited diagnosis, a child who would not live long outside the womb, who indeed, did not live at all beyond the safety of my body. “What will I do next?” I asked myself.
The writing world is full of best-practice advice. The advice almost always includes social media. If you read here regularly, you’ll notice the change in frequency in posts, and how these days, we see just a weekly post of a reprinted column.
I am living life. I cannot analyze alongside Google. I cannot pour my heart out over MailChimp. I cannot fret over whether or not this is the best blog layout.
I want to notice the feel of the breeze in my backyard. I want to stop and observe the beauty of my children’s faces. I want to focus when I ask them to focus on school work.
I want to be here. Alive.
This does not mean I have not been writing.
The weekly column continues, and along with that, the front and back pages filled with the news stories I have been fortunate enough to cover. I write for the Hughson Chronicle-Denair Dispatch. We are the positive press. We celebrate community. You get enough bad news. I come into events ready to learn others’ stories. I always wanted to know what motivates people. That is why I went into psychology.
Now I not only get to learn, but I get to share those stories as well.
I’m limited by a word count (or column square inch if you will). I do not get paid very much per photo. But I love it.
Each week, lately, I’ve been writing on seeing the bigger picture. My job presents me with a world to discover, to go in and uncover, and then report, shining the spotlight on the folks who might go unnoticed, counteracting the skepticism of our time, showing there really are people doing what they can to do good and help others, without looking for accolades.
Below is one such story, and if you’ll permit me, while town events and graduations continue at full speed and my column is on hold while I take photos of kids eating ice cream and interview veterans serving their community, I’ll share a handful of these stories in lieu of the regular column. I hope you enjoy it. I know I do.