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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Lost and Found

Last summer, Hannah Stonehouse Hudson took a photograph of her friend John holding his dog Schoep in the waters of Lake Superior. Schoep suffers from arthritis and John found that the cool waters helped his dog sleep better at night. Hannah took this photo as a favor and when she posted it to her Facebook page, it went viral. Almost overnight, donations poured in to the local animal hospital so Schoep could receive laser treatments to help with his arthritis. As a result of this overnight fame, Hannah's photography was in demand; she got to travel for photo shoots, her Facebook community grew, and she made many "Best of" lists all over the world.

Tragedy struck in January when her husband fell through the ice of Lake Superior on his snowmobile and died. It was a shock to everyone who knew, or knew of, Hannah.

Maybe it was fate that helped Hannah build her "support group" through the fame of John & Schoep's photo so that she could get through her loss. Although I've never met Hannah, her photography speaks to me and helped encourage me to purchase my camera this year and pursue my love of photography. I think about Hannah and her loss almost every day. It's a reminder to treasure each day and the fleeting beauty that surrounds us.

I learned yesterday that my best friend's dad died unexpectedly on Thursday. My friend and I worked together up until a year ago. We both quit our jobs within a couple weeks of each other ~ me because I hated working there and her to return back home and help her parents out with their business. Her mom was having some health issues and her instincts were telling her to go home and help out. Maybe this was fate's way of allowing my friend to spend this past year working with her dad every day. Maybe it was to put her in a place where she could help her mom through the grief they'll be dealing with.

~ Photo of my grandma ~

Death is always a loss. It's the pain of losing someone who was always there. It's an adjustment to the way you live from now on; aware of how easy it is to lose someone. And with time, it gets easier to remember the good things and let go of the grief little by little. I've grieved for lost family members as well as pets and not a day goes by that I don't think of them. I keep a photo of my grandma on my bookshelf and I smile at her every day as I pass by. I rejoice in her silliness because it was the essence of who she was. I light a candle each night during my quiet hour before bed when I read or write in my journal... reflecting on my daily gratitude. I think about my dog, Ben, who was the best dog ever and I miss him every day. Layla, my German Shepherd, who lived to be a whopping 14 years old! I still feel sadness for all the loss, but I also feel love for having enjoyed them each and every day. And I look at my dog, Charlie, and tickle her toes and kiss her head because I know she'll be gone someday too but I can love her to pieces while she's here.

Every day is a gift to be appreciated. Every person you pass on the street has their own story, their own joy and grief. Be kind to those you meet. Be patient with yourself and others... we are all dealing with something in some way or another. Get out there and appreciate the beauty of the world around you and tell someone you love them.