John and I met my parents and Taylor, my brother and his girlfriend and my in-laws at one of our favorite Charlotte restaurants for dinner last night. We took up residence at one of the restaurant’s largest tables for close to two hours, ate way too much authentic Italian food and laughed just the right amount, though probably too much for the comfort of our immediate neighbors. We had a fun two hours.
Toward the end of the night, I pulled out my camera. I got some good-natured eye rolls, but I believe in capturing happiness.
I snapped a picture of my brother, Stephen, and his girlfriend, Jessica:
Then, I passed the camera to my mom so she could get a shot of my husband and me:
My mother-in-law just couldn’t get into the whole photography thing, but I made her smile for the camera anyway:
My dad hid at the end of the table, but I wouldn’t put the camera away without getting a picture of my mom and Taylor:
I haven’t talked to my sister in a long time. As I looked at her through my camera’s viewfinder, it occurred to me that she had not been part of any of our laughter or conversation over the past two hours. And I realized that I don’t know how she feels, what she wants or what she would say if we could chat the way sisters do. I lowered the camera for a split second, and in her beautiful eyes – eyes that used to see colors and shapes and smiles – I saw sadness and loss, but I also saw courage.
I’ll fight Batten disease for a long time – forever, if that’s what it takes. Taylor’s still fighting. Batten disease hasn’t taken my sister’s life yet. But Batten disease already stole my sister.