Category Archives: Stories

Telling your story..

1/1/2012 Tybee Island Polar Bear Plunge

A popular, annual event which grew to 2000+ participants for 2012, the Tybee Island Polar plunge is fun for all – just check out the expressions of the folks who are probably thinking, “My it’s cold! Why am I in the jumping about in the Atlantic Ocean?” Fahrenheit Temperatures – Ocean: ~57+ Air: ~70. Wind: ~10 mph.


2012 Tybee Island Polar Plunge – Still Images


2012 Tybee Polar Plunge – Short, Lo-res Video (lots of joyful noise!)

Tybee Island is also known as Savannah’s Beach (Savannah, Ga.)

Remembering…


My approach with photography is simple – using images, tell ‘the story’ of the event, location, or group of folks that I am capturing with the camera. Often, this approach is quite a bit of fun for all involved – the participants wind up with both wonderful images and great memories; sometimes the results are deeper.

We should all take the to reflect and be thankful – there is no doubt that we are all enjoying/living our lives in part, due to the efforts and sacrifices of others…

While my photo stories can be entertaining and, sometimes, even moving (a common reaction to family photos, especially by us older folks..), the text of the letter quoted below is from yet another place.  I was moved by the story, moved by the letter and then transported by the combination of text, music and images.

This post started one day when I turned on the car radio just in time to hear the Last Letter Home, music by composer Lee Hoiby (the choral work on the video below.)  The performance was prefaced with the background story (a small glimpse into another man’s life) so I thought that I was ready to hear the performance.  I parked the car, turned of the engine and waited.



My family:

I never thought I would be writing a letter like this, I really don’t know where to start. I’ve been getting bad feelings though and well if you are reading this….

I am forever in debt to you, Dakota, and the bean. I searched all my life for a dream and I found it in you. I would like to think that I made a positve difference in your lives. I will never be able to make up for the bad. I am so sorry. The happiest moments in my life all deal with my little family. I will always have with me the small moments we all shared. The moments when you quit taking life so serious and smiled. The sounds of a beautiful boys laughter or the simple nudge of a baby unborn. You will never know how complete you have made me. Each and every one of you. You saved me from lonliness and taught me how to think beyond myself. You taught me how to live and to love. You opened my eyes to a world I never dreamed existed. I am proud of you. Stay on the path you chose. Never lose sight of what is important, you and our babies.

Dakota you are more son then I could ever ask for. I can only hope I was half the dad. I use to be your “danny” but no matter what it makes me proud that you chose me. You taught me how to care until it hurts, you taught me how to smile again. You taught me that life isn’t so serious and sometimes you have to play. You have a big beautiful heart. Through life you need to keep it open and follow it. Never be afraid to be yourself. I will always be there in our park when you dream so we can still play. I hope someday you will have a son like mine. Make them smile and shine just like you. I love you Toad I hope someday you will understand why I didn’t come home. Please be proud of me. Please don’t stop loving life. Take in every breath like it’s your first. I love you toad I will always be there with you. I’ll be in the sun, shadows, dreams, and joys of your life.

Bean, I never got to see you but I know in my heart you are beautiful. I know you will be strong and big hearted just like your mom and brother. I will always have with me the feel of the soft nudges on your moms belly, and the joy I felt when we found out you were on your way. I dream of you every night, I always will. Don’t ever think that since I wasn’t around that I didn’t love you. You were conceived of love and I came to this terrible place for love. I love you as I do your mom and brother with all my heart and soul. Please understand that I had to be gone so that I could take care of my family. I love you Bean.

I have never been so blessed as the day I met Melissa. You are my angel, soulmate, wife, lover, and best friend. I am sorry. I did not want to have to write this letter. There is so much more I need to say, so much more I need to share. A lifetime’s worth. I married you for a million lifetimes. That’s how long I will be with you. Please keep our babies safe. Please find it in your heart to forgive me for leaving you alone. Take care of yourself, believe in yourself, you are a strong, big hearted woman. Teach our babies to live life to its fullest tell yourself to do the same. Don’t forget to take Toad to Disney World. I will be there with you. Melissa I will always want you need you and love you in my heart, mind, and soul. Do me a favor, after you tuck Toad and Bean in, give them hugs and kisses from me. Go outside look at the stars and count them. Don’t forget to smile.

Love Always
Your husband
Jess

Related Web Pages

The lifetime Gift of Pfc. Givens

The Fallen Heroes Memorial

 I am forever thankful for our veterans and their families – your work provides all of us with yet another day to enjoy each other, experience ‘the new’, write more stories, and, of course, to create more memories and capture and share more wonderful glimpses of our lives.  Thank you.