Why No Pictures

I haven’t posted pictures of Elena on this site and we have plenty of them.

When I taught at Oberlin College I had a picture of Maggie Rose on my website. She was not yet two and eating spaghetti in her high chair. She had reached for the phone and was sitting there looking as cute as can be with spaghetti sauce all over her face and clothes holding the phone upside down and talking into the wrong end.

This was included in the section about contacting me. I provided my home phone but wanted my students to see what it was that I considered most important during the time that I was at home. I took the picture down a few months later and didn’t post more pictures because I was afraid of having images of my girls posted on the internet.

After Elena died we went to Kim’s cousin’s house to pick up Maggie and tell her and take her home. When we got home Kim sobbed that she hadn’t even taken a picture of Elena with her newly missing tooth.

Maggie had. Maggie showed Kim that the night before, she and Elena had taken pictures of themselves using the iMac with the built in camera. We have a picture of Elena smiling, proudly showing off the gap in her teeth.

But we’re not posting pictures of Elena.

Channel 19 came over twice trying to come into our house and shove a camera in Kim and my face. Patti has been guarding the door and watching over us. She kept them out. Kim and I don’t watch local news – it’s one tragedy after another overplayed in ways that don’t serve the public. We certainly didn’t want to be the subject of a story. The woman from the t.v. station said “he’s already talked to channel 8.” Patti wisely said, “no he hasn’t and I still am not letting you in.”

They came back a second time while Kim and I were at the funeral home picking out a casket. Patti was playing board games with Maggie. Maggie had beaten her at Deflexion and Mancala and had moved to Sorry because “it’s mainly a game of chance so maybe you can win.” This time they told Patti they just wanted to come in and film Elena’s picture. Again Patti sent them away.

But it isn’t because of privacy that we aren’t posting her picture. It’s hard to describe, but I’ll try.
I’ve read all of your comments. Thank you. Many of you have sent us support and that means a lot. But many of you have sent us a note about looking at your own child differently. Others have sent stories of losses you have suffered. A picture makes this story about one particular little girl. We’re touched that you have personalized this story and made it about you and your family.

Thank you.

Published in: on February 25, 2006 at 7:33 am  Comments (8)  

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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Daniel, Kim, and Maggie-

    No photos are necessary. Elena’s radiant smile will forever be etched on my heart. I don’t know many of the first graders at Boulevard, as my boys are in kindergarten and third grade. But Elena always stood out. She was a joy. We played with her on the playground after school.

    Thank you, Daniel, for your eloquent words on this blog. Elena touched so many people’s lives. Now your words are helping us process our grief. Our love is with you.

    Susan Vodrey

  2. Hi Daniel,

    I just wanted to write you a quick note to thank you for posting such heartfelt and thought provoking entries. I’m so, SO sorry for your tremendous loss. This is a heartbreaking story and I hope that you come out stronger for it.

    I can honestly say that a month ago I don’t think I’d have been impacted by your story as much as I have been today. Roughly 4 months ago my girlfriend at the time informed me that she was pregnant. We’d been going out for a while and decided to get married (3 months on Monday). After some initial wedding jitters I haven’t regretted that decision at all.

    Last Tuesday we went in for an ultrasound and found out that we’re having a boy. Seeing my baby made the whole thing so much more real. Far more real than seeing my wife outgrow her old clothes. That said I’m finding myself more and more interested in the experiences of fathers around me (including my own).

    Thankyou for sharing with me a picture (of sorts) of your family and your experience of fatherhood.

    Casey Margell

  3. I am so sorry for your loss. I don’t know you or your Elena, but I am a mother and am moved by your story.

    You and Kim and Maggie are in my prayers. Again, I am so sorry.

  4. I am a single young man yet, and I have this big dream of having children, making a family. I just hope I can have such a great love and life commitment as you show through these words. I think that’s all I can expect from being a parent. You make me have more hope in the world. May God bless you, comfort your heart, soothe your pain.

  5. I am so very sorry. I have some friends who recently, suddenly lost their son and it was so very tragic. We have been heartbroken for them and I am again heartbroken for you. I am so sorry. If it is OK, I’d like to pray for you.

    Lord, please be with Daniel, Kim, and Maggie in their pain. Help them, encourage them, be with them. Guide them to the truths that will help them cope and continue to live. In Jesus name. Amen.

  6. You and yours are in my prayers that God will comfort, strengthen, each one of you. May you again rejoice in the precious gift and blessing you were given.
    May her memory and passion for life:
    never be darkened
    never cease to inspire and love one another

    def. Elena – the bright one.

  7. You have shown us Elena’s spirit. How could a picture tell more?

    Know that there are arms reaching out from friends known and unknown all over the globe, friends whose lives have been made more real by your words.


  8. very insightful read, thankyou.

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