Onward. Upward. Forward.
Or, in the immortal words of Buzz Lightyear, “To infinity and beyond.”
One photograph immediately came to mind to embody the word “forward,” in a literal way. My husband Jim took this picture while hiking in a mountain range with new friends during his final months:
I love the angles and wide sweep of this picture. Jim’s companion–and his shadow–is not simply pointing forward along a hiking trail, but into a vast bright blue beyond.
Jim took this picture at a time when he was exhausted from chemotherapy with little chance of beating back his recently discovered pancreatic tumor, but it expresses no weariness. It is full of color and movement and, to me, hope. It is a picture that expresses Jim’s love of the world, and his faith in life going forward with whatever circumstances are dealt to the people whose shadows will flicker and disappear among the mountains.
No single person can conquer the cyberworld’s vast body of information–real, imagined, fictional, nutty, spiritual (or some combination thereof). But a collection of friends can cull gems from it and pass them along, paying it forward.
(I may be the Queen of Payback after someone I love has been wronged, but Jim lived a life of paying it forward.)
It happens that I picked up one of these gems this morning, courtesy of the very same gentleman who is pointing forward in this picture that I was about to write about. He shared a quote from a widow: “When my husband was dying, I said: ‘Moe, how am I supposed to live without you?’ He told me: ‘Take the love you have for me and spread it around.'”
What could be a better way to honor someone you love?