Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Unfinished Business
Some of the best advice I’ve ever received came from The Philosopher just yesterday:

“Just ride it out, your tears are there for a reason so follow what you're learning wherever it leads . . . "

“It” was a wave of grief for my high school friend, Chris, lost in Iraq earlier this year. Though it was as real and tangible as the hot tears streaming down my cheeks, I felt selfish and undeserving when measuring it against the pain Chris’s wife, children, parents and siblings surely feel.

Precipitating the tears was my stumble onto a site run by a man who goes by the moniker “Q.” Q lives simply and follows his heart. Thus far, his heart has guided him to the memorial services of 71 fallen soldiers. A photographer, Q shoots several hundred photos at each service, quietly from the background. Some of his photos can be found on his site; a reminder our military men and women are not statistics. The remaining photos are given to the soldiers’ families.

Last January, Q photographed Chris’s memorial service. Last week, I discovered the photos. They were both a priceless gift and the provider of a reality I’ve struggled to wrap my mind around: that on a rainy Pacific Northwest day, my friend was laid to rest.

I wrote to Q, sharing a little about Chris and thanking him for bringing back memories – and bringing home realities. He wrote back, telling me he’d phoned Chris’s mother, read her my letter and would be mailing me a disk with an additional 400 photos. I was floored. And grateful.

In the last few days, I’ve poured over those photos and reconnected with the mother of my high school sweetheart, who I was finally able to thank for the best moments of my youth. Because of her graciousness, the time elapsed since my last goodbye with Chris seems just a little shorter.

It wouldn’t have happened had a man named “Q” not followed his heart and a soldier’s mother not opened hers.

Below is a video I put together using many of Q’s photos. It isn’t a political statement. It is just my way of following where my tears lead. And, this time, they’ve led to some pretty neat places and very good people.

Please watch it with Chris’s family in mind – and keep them in your thoughts.

Q's Site:

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Rhonda Ruminated at 2:16 AM | Permalink |

7 Ruminations:

  • At 8:02 AM, Blogger Kate

    Hi Rhonda, I came here via a link on Charlie's (Admiral Pooper) blog. I just wanted to say, what a wonderful tribute to your friend.

  • At 9:44 AM, Blogger Nikki

    That was so lovely Rhonda. A beautiful tribute.

  • At 2:49 PM, Blogger Kevin Charnas

    wow...Rhonda. i'm sorry.
    That was really beautiful. As a veteran myself, thank you...

  • At 8:15 AM, Blogger Boo

    What a wonderfully touching tribute. I also arrived via Charlie's blog.

  • At 7:18 AM, Blogger Mia

    Rhonda I just ran across your friend Chris' tribute on this page and thought you might want to see it.


  • At 8:42 AM, Blogger Pendullum

    Rhonda i could taste your tears through this video...
    It must have been so hard to make.... Part of the healing process... Glad you found Q and so glad you reconnected with Charlie's mother...I am so sorry for the loss of your friend...

  • At 8:05 AM, Anonymous Jim Brodhead

    Stunning work Rhonda, just stunning. Thanks to you and Q for all your art and effort. The love shines.