9.06.2012

sometimes he'll cry and sometimes she'll do what it takes to quiet him. but sometimes she'll just let him cry. i know... because, once, she just let me.

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only one time in my life did someone sit with me while i cried and refrain from uttering a single word. that person was the woman above. it was six years ago, soon after my dad died. we worked together at the time. i had had a bad day after returning to work from some bereavement time. i wasn't coping with everyday work-life so well, and i found i had not yet truly begun to grieve, so i sought solitude... a place where i could hide and weep and get it all out.

she somehow discovered i was there, so she came by my side to embrace me while i wept.

she walked up to me in silence.

she knelt beside me and wrapped her arms around me in silence.

she walked away in silence.

she said nothing.

i must have appreciated it more than i knew i did at the time, because i have never forgotten it, nor will i ever. and it marks the way i think of this person... my friend. it shapes so much of how i see her.

i've always heard that the act of love and support wrapped in pure silence like that is the ultimate act of compassion. and let me attest... it is. if you ever have the opportunity to give that gift to someone, do. not that words are never appropriate. but if you can offer yourself without having to say a word when a word is not needed, but rather just your presence... it's true support. there is no need to hear yourself talk or be heard. saying "i am here for you" by exampling it and that is it...  not saying words that can seem empty to prove your presence. not acting as though you know what the other is going through or that you have something to say that could possibly make it better. just being there.

and there, she was. for quite a while. she must have been on her way somewhere {to lunch, perhaps} when she discovered me there. but she stayed until she sensed she did not need to anymore.

and never uttered one word.

well, i recently had the real honor of taking family photos for her newly growing family. she had a baby almost six months ago, and she had expressed to me that she would like some pictures of herself with her little man the first time i went to meet him. then i told her i would love the opportunity and practice. i got some photos of the whole family, hubby included, as well. i'll post those later.

but because i recently posted about the six-year-mark of my dad's death and he has been on my mind a lot, i thought i would just focus this post more on erika as a new mom, instead of the whole family. erika who let me cry and offered so much in silence. erika who i know will be a great mom, because i saw her capacity for compassion that day.

in fact, there are some pictures in here where i had hoped to have the baby in focus as much as mom is. but i made mistakes here and there on things like that. still, i could not bring myself to discard those photos. if anything, i liked the outcome of those, because i truly did want my friend to be the heart and soul of the photos... showing her self as a new mom... that glow. i know there is a way to do this and still get baby in focus. {i'm still learning}. but if i had to goof, i would rather it be her in focus and baby not, than the other way around. in my mind, these pictures were all about her. i can do baby shoots separately. this was all about mom.

and what a great mom she'll be. if she can sit by a friend who she has only known for a couple years and offer that kind of loving support in the friend's time of need, imagine what she will be for her son... now... in five years... in twenty years. she will be compassionate and tender-hearted. there will be times when she will wipe his tears and try to get him to stop crying... maybe even offer some words that will aid that process.

but i can guarantee that there will be times that she will simply let him cry. and i can not think of a more loving thing to do.

it has taught me a lesson in my own motherhood with isaac. it has made me want to make sure that i will let him cry sometimes too... without a word.

just a lap to sit on to be rocked back and forth. just an embrace. just a hand. just a shoulder to soak up tears. just an ear. just a kiss on the forehead.

i was not only lucky enough to take pictures of her. i got to watch her love her son. you can judge for yourself below... don't you think she will be and already is a beautiful and loving mom? {oh, and isn't her baby boy just precious?}

DSC_0321 DSC_0649 DSC_0625 erika diptych_3 DSC_0273 erika diptych_1 DSC_0332 erika diptych_5 DSC_0245 erika diptych_2 DSC_0742 DSC_0267 erika diptych_4 DSC_0306 DSC_0669

8 comments:

Kathy said...

These portraits of your friend truly reflect a mothers love. But as much as I like them...I am even more enthralled with your words and sentiments., which reflect such compassion. Thank you for sharing.

georgia b. said...

what a nice thing to say, kathy. i truly appreciate your words and the fact that you took the time to read this. it means very much!

Kathryn said...

What a beautiful post and an equally beautiful mom and baby. Having lost my own father your words lept off the page at me as I truly related. It takes someone special to sit in silence, to offer support without having to fill that void, to simply be there with you in your time of need. So glad you were able to share your story and these beautiful photos with us.

georgia b. said...

thank you, kathryn. i'm so glad this resonated with you. i enjoy writing about these things for that very reason. xox

Christine said...

the silent connection the two of you shared speaks so loudly ~ your willingness to accept her offering is as rare and as beautiful as the offering <3

i thought you might enjoy one of my favorite poems

A Rabbit Noticed My Condition

I was sad one day and went for a walk;
I sat in a field.

A rabbit noticed my condition and came near.

It often does not take more than that to help at times-

to just be close to creatures who are so full of knowing, so full of love that they don't

-chat,

they just gaze with their marvelous understanding.

~ St John of the Cross

georgia b. said...

that is awesome, christine. thank you for sharing that. i love it.

beth said...

what a beautiful story to go along with beautiful photos....xo

ps....since you have comment moderation on, can you remove your captcha. my eyes just don't see those very well anymore :(

georgia b. said...

thanks, beth!!

no problem... word verification officially turned off. =)