I've never shared Gabriel's pictures with a wide audience. I have no desire to do so, really. He's beautiful and perfect, and while a small part of me wants everyone to see and know that, the much bigger part of me says No. Halfway because I don't want to share him (he's ours and the pictures are about all we have left and it's a selfish impulse, but there it is), but also because I want to protect them. I do not want anyone to see them and feel scared or disgusted or uncomfortable.
However, I compromised with myself. I still have no intentions of making his picture public online. The people I want to see the pictures have had that opportunity, I believe. But we haven't done anything else with the pictures yet, and I've felt a growing pull to do something. After some thought, we decided that we wanted to display Gabe's picture here in our home, and have tried to find a thoughtful and non-confrontational way to do it. Just in case anyone ever, you know, visits us. On one hand, I don't give a shit what people think about me displaying my son's pictures in my house. On the other, I still do not wish to see anyone recoil or be unable to hide their unpleasant reaction.
After some more thought and deliberation, and the kindest offer from a friend who does brilliant photography and also volunteers with NILMDTS, we're figuring out what we want to display. She has already pulled together a beautiful small storyboard that I will be giving to my parents, and is editing our favorite picture for us - we already have a frame and will display this next to the box with his ashes in it. She's also going to create a sort of collage of pictures and images for our hallway.
But really, truly? The best thing she's done for us, I will share with you. She offered to create a digital image of Gabe's footprints if we could send her the card they were on. We did, with some trepidation. After all, if that were lost, a really important piece of Gabriel would be lost to us as well. But they did arrive safely, and she has given us a fantastic gift - his feet. We won't be able to ever lose them now, no matter what happens. We'll always have them with us.
Eventually, this will end up in a frame next to something else for my office, I think. I have an idea or two, but am not ready to put it out there. But this - this is worth sharing.
Kangaroo feet indeed. In the 4x6 print, they are true to size - a little bigger than my thumb. My son had big feet to go with his loooong arms and legs.
Thank you, Katie. We are so grateful to you. I don't know if we'll ever be able to express what you have given us by helping us with these.