I spent countless hours creating this video. The most difficult aspect in creating something so important to you - something in which you are very emotionally invested - is the editing process. I could have easily made this video 90 minutes long. I reminded myself of my mantra when I write, that you have to be a ruthless editor. This means that several touching video clips and breath-taking photos were left out of the tribute video. Although Simon lived for 7 days and 22 minutes, we probably have 5 days worth of still photos and video footage!
If you knew your loved one would die very soon, but you aren't sure when, what lengths would you go to take that one last picture with them? Would you wish you would have turned the car around to get the camcorder you forgot on the way to your son or daughter's soccer game? Will you wish those rounds of golf played on Saturday mornings were spent at home cooking pancakes with your family - even if it meant you had to change two more poopy diapers, clean the dishes and watch some horribly written kid's cartoon about "sharing" or "trying your best" on TV? How much would you pay to have been there to take one last photo of your son or daughter grinning with syrup all over their sticky face if they were all-of-the-sudden GONE?
My point is, the key to all of these captured memories is simply being present. If we aren't present - if we aren't there for our spouses and our kids - we can't build the memory archive. And if we aren't present we can't store these images on our smartphones, and thus, in our hearts. I deeply long for more time with Simon. Just one more chance to hold him. Just one more day, even if it means sleep deprivation and being locked in our house.
But I know it's easy for a guy who's on the other side of losing a child to tell someone to parent like your kids were dying.
The number of days, or years, your loved one lives doesn't make the speed of death feel slower. After talking to friends who have lost spouses whom they were married to for decades, or parents who have lost adult children in their 20s, 30s or 40s, you realize that death feels like a lightning strike every time. It is as if this person was quickly erased from the earth. All you see is smudged lines where they used to be standing. They are now missing, and there is no hope of finding them again on this Earth. All you have is the memories, the photos and the video evidence that prove that the smudged lines used to be a person.
Be there for your family. Stand behind the camera and take that one extra photo, or one extra minute of video, that makes you feel a bit like a creep. Sacrifice selfish desires to simply be present. Don't fool yourself into thinking your selfish ways are being executed to perfect yourself so your family can benefit from your perfection. It's so easy to convince yourself that those 2 extra hours spent in the office are going to benefit your family in the big picture. But all your family cares about is you being there, not about you being perfect.
Music Playlist from this video includes:
"Beautiful Things" by Gungor
"This Life" by The Afters
"Tribute/ Agnus Dei" by Michael W. Smith