Friday, April 10, 2015

Signs from Jess and Surfacing from Grief

Jess out in her beloved Nature at Bear Meadows, PA
The photographer was one of her friends and I don't know which one.
I'm happy to change out the photo or include your name for photo credit,
please let me know, and thank you so much for this beautiful image xo
Time for a little update on some of the beautiful things about Jessie's passing, and some of the hard stuff too. Little tip - if you'd like to see her photos larger, click on the first one and they'll all pop up so you can enjoy them better.

If you're a Facebook friend you know that one of the most beautiful things about inheriting Jessie's things when she passed is that when I mustered up the courage to open her computer, I came upon the vast collection of photos she'd taken. I knew there would be photos because she was a photographer, having worked at her beloved Yuen Lui portrait studio in Portland for about 7 years, but I had no idea that her personal collection of photos would be so vast and so gorgeous.

As I looked through it in the quiet hours of the nights, I sat with my mouth open and my eyes twinkling and my heart singing, because it was like a huge gift to be able to see the whole world right through her eyes. Nothing was too large or small for her interest. And she was very, very organized - she had spent hours and hours labeling, sorting, and cropping and editing her photos.

Jessica's photo of the Andes on her trip to Argentina.
Jessica's photo of a tiny fly while she was hiking at Eagle Creek in Portland, Oregon.
Jessica's photo of a colorful zipper pattern. 
Jessica's photo of the gallery at the
Japanese Gardens in Portland, Oregon.
Jessica's photo of a padlock -
she had several photos of various kinds of locks.
Jessica's photo of the Andes from the plane
on her trip to visit her brother in Argentina
Jessica's photo of the beautiful staircase within Vista House in Portland, Oregon
Jessica's photo of a heartfelt message of a broken man
Broken Rules
Jessica's photo of a mad hunter's prey
Jessica's photo of a rainbow
over the Rose Gardens in Portland Oregon
Jessica's photo of Latourelle Falls in Oregon
Jessica's photo of what we always called "Godbeams."
Jessica's photo of some gorgeous groundcover in the fall.
Jess in profile driving to Vista House, or maybe she's on her way home. 
Jessica's photo from the steps at Vista House in Portland, Oregon.
Jessica's photo of 4th of July in Portland, Oregon
Jessica's photo of a baboon at the Oregon zoo
Jessica's photo of a bird in flight at Mount Tabor in Portland, Oregon
This is just a teaser of Jessica's photos. These aren't even the best of the best. I love her sensitivity and intuition working within her from behind her lens. 

Sunset over the Water by Jessica Novak
This one made me cry the first time I saw it because it exactly explains the way I feel since her passing. The way she framed the photo separates the orb in the sky from its reflection, which is how I feel sometimes now. She's there and I'm here, and there's a huge difference in the way we communicate. No touching, no sparkly eyes, no soft giggles, no phone calls, no eating together, no clinking of wine glasses, no hugs. When I look at the photo it's hard to breathe because I want so much to look up and see the beautiful orb in the sky that is "her." I want evidence of both in the same plane of existence.

Jess provides this by communicating with me differently. It's much "softer" than when she was physically here, in that I have to be in an emotionally quiet, receptive sort of mode to recognize it. Sometimes, especially when I'm doing something close to her, like looking through her photos, I can smell her scent. Sometimes she sends me songs or images, and my favorite times are when our electronics stop working.

There was one night when Rob and I were in bed with the pups and the TV was on. I was really missing Jess and of course, started to cry, and as I started to cry the sound went silent on the TV. Rob picked up the remote and messed with it, shook it, tapped it, checked the batteries, etc. Yet the sound continued to stay off for several minutes, though the TV program was still showing just fine. There was no sound on any of the channels. Then after a few minutes the sound came back on - though we'd done nothing to "fix" it.

Another time we were in the living room, and again, I started to cry during a scene from the irreverently funny movie, Waking Ned Divine - I don't know what we were thinking to put that movie on. Well, we were thinking it was near St. Patrick's Day so we wanted to watch something British and have a beer. However, as many times as I've seen that movie, I never thought of it as "a death movie." And I was fine with the whole thing, we were both chuckling along, til the scene where Ned's friends close his sightless eyes after he's passed away. 

Upon seeing that scene, my heart went straight to Jess in her bed all cuddled up in her soft blue bathrobe, dying with her kitty for company. And I thought "Who closed her beautiful eyes?" And I started to cry. And the sound went off on the TV. It stayed off for several minutes - the same situation as in our bedroom, and Rob shook, tapped, checked wires, and cursed a little. We could do nothing to correct the situation. And after a few minutes the sound just came back on. I knew that was Jess. And it's a comfort that she comes this way, actually fairly often. But that time I still went to the bathroom to have a good cry.
Jessica's photo of twin fern fronds at Latourelle Falls in Oregon
 So one of the beautiful things that's come of Jessie's passing, which I am thrilled to be able to share, is that my good friend and one of the founders of the Green Drake Gallery, Karl Leitzel, sent me a very special, sensitive, warm-hearted invitation to mount a show of Jessica's photos at the gallery.

I'm feeling very honored and excited to do this for Jess since I love sharing her beautiful accomplishments, which she'd have done if she'd had the chance. I also love that it's a sort of collaboration between Jess and myself. We get to work together. I get to choose the best of the best of her photos and match them with the special meanings that come into my heart as I look at them.

So I'll be working on getting this together and hope to aim for fall, not sure if it'll be this year or next year. I'm realizing that none of Jessie's photos are standard size, so to do them justice, I'll have each one printed and framed specifically for its own mood and colors, which will take a bit of investment and a while to get done. 

And I'm planning to make a print-on-demand book available for those who might want to have something to keep. And I might be able to do some smaller prints and some greeting cards for those who have certain photos they want to take home.

How lucky am I to be able to do this. Thanks Karl, for the invitation. I hope I don't cry on opening night - and I know Jess will be flitting around in her angel form enjoying the whole thing.

I'll keep everyone posted on how we're doing and how the show is shaping up. I want it to be called Jessica's Legacy - Living the Dream, cause that's exactly what she did so well.

Til then, thanks for your interest and all of the support and encouragement and love that's been surrounding us as we progress on this journey.


Jen and Jess

Me and My Girl xoxo

No comments:

Post a Comment