On July 2, 2007, my family was fortunate enough to participate in the
"Smiling Eyes" program offered by Click Photography. This offer provides a free
photo shoot to families touched by cancer in some way. A year later, I still
look back at those 146 photos very fondly, and very often.
It turned out to be a great session, with Kira, Lauren, and Darrel all in positive and
happy moods, and even the weather co-operated too. Each picture sparkles and
radiates a life and hope unlike anything I've seen before. Though Darrel's
eyes were almost dancing innocently in front of the camera, you can also see a
timeless wisdom in them as well. So much they had seen in such a short time,
yet so precious little time left to witness anything else. In just over two
months, he would be gone.
A few weeks later, when the proofs from the shoot arrived, the Darrel
captured on that day and the Darrel we were caring for at first glance seemed
to be worlds apart. Though his spirit, wit, and sense of humour were fully
intact, his body was being drained and zapped of energy at an alarming rate.
The boy that ran around playing and laughing with his sisters during the photo
shoot now seldom left the couch, and rarely was free of pain.
Of course we have hundreds of pictures of Darrel before we ever heard of
neuroblastoma, or gave childhood cancer a second thought, but these are still
some of my favourite. They showcase Darrel at his personal finest, even
though physcially he was fast approaching his worst. They showcase a loving
and united family together facing a disease and hardships no one should ever
have to endure. They showcase Life.
A special thanks once again to Christine Kufske at Click for her great
work, and her tremendously generous program. She has since extended the
program, and got other photographers to join with her to handle the
unfortunately plentiful requests. We are all very grateful to have been able
to take advantage of her services.