Through The Lens Of Love

Today would have been Robert’s 46th birthday – it was a year ago today that I published his story for you.  I am very thankful that I was able to spend his last birthday with him here in Ecuador, just the two of us.  Those few weeks are truly my sweetest memories with him.

At this point, having come full circle beyond a year of his death, I would have kept the memories of this day to myself.  But just a few weeks ago, after over a year of waiting and many failed attempts, I finally obtained full closure, after receiving from his best friend the pictures from the slide show presentation that was shown at Robert’s funeral.  It was poignant to see so many new photos of him, several that I had taken myself.  Most I had viewed briefly at some point on his tablet, but had not seen since.  Nearly all the photos were of the last year of his life, following his cancer re-diagnosis – there were just a few that were taken prior to that time.  His friend Danny had informed me that Robert insisted that pictures of me be shown at his funeral.  Danny’s words were, “He wanted the world to know that you were part of his life!”  Other than one photo of his parents, a few of his beloved niece and nephew and a couple of him with Danny, I was the only other person (besides Robert himself) whose photos were included.  Since he was such a private person, and really only his mother and Danny even knew about me (and only Danny REALLY knew about me), I considered this a huge honor.  The four photos of me were all ones Robert had taken on the cruise.  But there is one photo in particular that stands out.

Those who know me, would say I’m not a vain person (I hope).  I’m really not big on photos of myself and like most people, only think I take a decent picture once in a blue moon.  But this photo Robert took of me honestly has me saying, “Who is that girl?!”  It was one of those simple, candid moments.  We were on our day trip excursion on the island of St. Maarten, which was the highlight of the cruise for Robert.  The cruise and visiting it were his last “bucket list” items.  He’d always wanted to go there, since he learned about it in school (a very small island in the Caribbean that is half Dutch and half French, just like the country of Belgium).  After our tour, he was on a quest for a souvenir t-shirt.  We went into a tourist gift shop at a small indoor shopping mall, where I warned him things would be too pricey.  Sure enough, he found a great t-shirt he liked, but did not like the price.  However he wanted to remember it, so he asked me to hold it up so he could take a photo.  He later cropped it with just my head-shot, and here was the result:

In the tourist shop

Back home, he sent me a picture showing how he’d framed it next to one of him and put it on the fireplace mantel in their family room.  He said, “I gave you a warm spot in the house.”

Despite already having been on a breezy bus ride and walking tour, God graciously allowed me to look “picture perfect” in that simple, cameo moment, and this is the way Robert and all those friends and family who attended his funeral will remember me.  Of course, you have to realize that the glowing look and sparkle in my eyes are simply a reflection of looking at the one who was taking the photo. 🙂

12 thoughts on “Through The Lens Of Love

  1. That was so touching. You are full of love and happiness. You changed his life! The Lord’s love was something he had never experienced. He was able to see a loving God through you, never to be forgotten. He has to be in heaven waiting for the one who helped get him there. Last week I thought and thought of you. I was in Dallas for a funeral for my dearest friend’s husband. I went down Marsh Lane so many times. Each time I would thank the Lord fo you and all you and your friendship has meant to me. I sit hear now with tears of joy running down my face for you. You have been a wonderful example of the godly woman to so many. I was in an earthquake last Friday night. I didn’t realize it at the time because I was so sick with pneumonia. It was the next day when I saw a crack in the wall beside the bed, that was the reason I couldn’t walk straight when getting up the night before! Yes, I thought of you.  Someday just maybe, God willing, I can come visit you. We are so lucky or just smart to be out of the U S. I will never go back again. There is way to much going on! Yes, they are going to put a stop on using our debit cards outside the country. I see all the things coming and can only hold on the our loving God who will protect us and see us through what is coming. God bless you my dear, dear friend. Deena

  2. What a beautiful and touching tribute – to both of you. The picture is gorgeous, obviously reflecting the joy and love you both experience with each other. Note – that is NOT past tense. What the two of you share is forever. Bless you, my dear and very special friend. Jane

  3. Truly beautiful. Now I know why Robert has been on my heart/mind yesterday! Amazing – God is so good –
    One at a time, even those of us who have been ‘learning to love’ on earth, Jesus’ love draws us closer and closer to Him.
    Your own family now waiting in Heaven!
    Such a story of encouragement and blessings –
    So glad you were transparent and sensitive to the Lord’s heart.
    Luv ya!
    Loved catching up last Friday – That sales meeting resulted in a $22K order that we are still working on. Lasted all afternoon but worth it!
    Allison Baldwin

  4. Hey mary, my dad passed on friday morning. My mom found him on his bedroom floor when she went in to have him come in for breakfast. She was really upset and didnt know what to do. She found a neighbor who came to help her. I know how much you cared about my parents, and I thought you would want to know. Love you.

  5. Excellent picture. You know I think both of us know the best parts of our life ends way to soon and we were blessed have the people to love even for a short time. Better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. Love you

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  6. Hi Mary,

    I cannot remember my password to enter a comment on your blog from my phone.

    I am so sorry for your loss. For me. I find milestones or anniversaries to be the hardest.

    I am happy that your moments of sadness are pebbled with happy ones. They are the ones that sustain us. I still celebrate Bruce’s birthday with a dinner at The Palm, his favorite. Most times at least 1 of his kids joins me. I still post on his FB page when appropriate too.

    The picture that Robert took if you is just terrific! Your radiant beauty is so readily visible. I am glad that you got to experience a relationship with a gentleman who appreciated what a lovely woman you are.

    You are loved,


  7. Thinking of you! And I know he is watching over you! I am so glad you had time together and to love!

    The snapshot is adorable! I can see so much in your eyes! I know he saw it too!
    Love you always,

  8. You look absolutely beautiful in this picture! I am so sorry for your loss. You look so totally in love. What a blessing for you both! God is good!

  9. One year on earth that impacted a man’s soul for eternity! A beautiful story and yes, beautiful picture of you! Glowing for two reasons! God was just all over you and you were the best way to speak to Robert….the way it all happened & how you were Jesus to him.

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