This book is comprised of my thoughts. I am sure that my children and their mother would have their thoughts. I have been divorced since 2001 after having been married for 11 years. This book is about my thoughts of parenting three children from the ages of 7, 5, and 1 after my divorce. The gates of college slowly creaked open with the sweetness of the six eyes who looked at me while I looked at them. As Jasmine and Ralph entered college their health began to fail within a blink of each other. Natalie was still in high school. I worked full time after my divorce while being emotionally and physically present for my children. My children came first. From what I now understand, I was one of the first father’s to insist on at least an equal sharing of time with my children. I remained firm until that was accomplished. I chose to be available for my children all the time. That was my way. I would have it no other way. My children’s medical matters were primarily handled by me. In 2015 Jasmine and Ralph, having returned from college, were living with me; Natalie divided her time between her mother and me. By 2016, Jasmine, although not well, went to live with her mother to provide me the opportunity to focus on Ralph. Jasmine said, “Ralph is going to need all of you. I will have to wait.”
I am still alternating at being in peace and struggling with the anguish of the time period beginning with 2013. This book is not ostensibly about the events but how they consumed my being. I found a deeper meaning within my life as I wrote “away” the year 2017. The writing began as a therapeutic exercise and it migrated into a form that soon became the shape of a book. I will share my hike into the forest of meaning. The prose and the photographs are my story. My words are not dressed appropriately without my photography. The images bring emotional saturation, tone, contrast, highlights and shadows to the narrative. I always pay close attention to the first and last hour of sunlight. In this space, my thoughts are most clear and creative as are my photographs. If there is light, there is a shadow. Where the light meets the shadow, there is creative energy. It has always been a time when I contemplate so that my thoughts become more intentional. Each image has been chosen to partner with the words in the chapter. The eyes can see what the words cannot say and together they become the story. I hope your response from reading my book is meaningful to you. Being a parent has taught me about purpose and how to be inquisitive of my soul. Each chapter is in the infinite space where the shadow meets the ray of light. It is where my life happens. This book is also therapy. Therapy for tragic, unexpected loss. As I wrote each of these sentences, I got a measure of comfort because it allowed me to be with my son Ralph Gabriel both in thought and in writing. It allowed me to tell other people about my son Ralph Gabriel. And in that way, the life of Ralph, his wisdom and understanding still shines brightly, not just for our family, but hopefully for you as you read this story.
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