In 2012, my little niece Hayley was here for only four days. Four days hardly seems like a lifetime, but for Hayley it was just that, a lifetime.
Time has moved on in the three years since Hayley left us to walk with the Angels. Yet even though three years has passed, it still does not change how much we all love and miss Hayley. In my office, I still keep a picture of Hayley sitting by my phone. Always watching over her old uncle. Now that is a smiling face that I will never grow tired of seeing.
Since that time three years ago, some things have changed while some things are still the same. What's changed? Uncle James has grown older, maybe a little wiser. I've had more time to think about the little face that sits by my work phone, and on my wall at home. I don' t think that the feeling of missing this little one will ever go away, not for me, not for Hayley's Mom & Dad, not for all of her Grandparents or her cousins. Time may proceed on, but some things are eternal and never changing. Like the presence of a little angel who sits by my phone and watches her ol' uncle. No, that doesn't change at all.
One thing that has changed for me is that I have learned a few more things since then. Every now and then, I pop into the Canon Image Square in 8th Avenue Place in Calgary. Canon Image Square is a kind of showcase for Canon Cameras and equipment, a pretty interesting place for someone like me who is a bit of a shutterbug. A while ago I spoke with one of the professional photographers there, she told me about an organization called "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep". (www.nilmdts.org). This is a volunteer group that has grown into a world wide organization whose primary focus is to provide remembrance photography to parents who have lost a child. Learning about NILMDTS has been a good experience. There are many families out there who have lost a young child like Hayley, more than what I realized. I've actually learned a lot from reading their website, and their forum. I guess one is never too old to keep on learning. I've also learned just how powerful a device the camera really is. Maybe it is just the philosophical part of me, but to think that I have access to this device that literally has the power to stop time, and in the process provide a memory for someone...well, that's kind of cool. Maybe that's why I respect the people at NILMDTS for what they do. And perhaps when the day comes that I retire from my current job, maybe I can volunteer for them.
Hayley, my dear Hayley....time may go on, but you'll always be there. By my phone and in my thoughts. Still love ya, my dear.