One of the last things she ever said to me was, “Don’t get in front of tree limbs or wild flowers in your pictures. Let them tell part of your story.” May she rest in peace, my friend Karen will never be forgotten.
Sadness has become my companion over the last few days, as a drunk driver murdered our friends last Thursday night.
Karen & Russ Musgrove
We’d not seen this couple since 2007 when we took a group trip to Grove Park Inn in North Carolina. They lived in Georgia, we are in Alabama. But, in May of this year, while we were in Italy, I received a message from Karen saying, “We are in Rome, too! Let’s meet for gelato.” We could not make it work out due to schedules and now I’ll never see them again. My heart is broken and I am filled with regret. We did not keep in touch.
Why is it that we constantly say to people we care about, “let’s keep in touch,” and then we don’t do it? I have friends in Utah, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida to name a few that I’ve not heard from or reached out to in years. Now I know first hand what it feels like to have tomorrow snatched from my grasp. I will never have another opportunity to talk about photography, kids growing up, church memories or marriage with Karen. We can never reminisce about our wonderful trip or compare notes on Italy.
It is my hope that this post will remind folks to keep in touch with those you love. And as I write and insert these photos, it is in honor of this dear couple.
I’ve always loved my photos from this trip because Karen taught me so much about photography with just a few tips. The above photo would never have been framed by these trees without her. (The rear view of the Biltmore Mansion.) I can still feel and hear her standing behind me helping me get this photo just right. She was an angel.
She suggested that things always be just a little bit off center.
She reminded me to snap as many candid shots as possible…. A couple who were so in love with each other, while always focused on those around them.
(Celebrating an anniversary was the trips’ purpose.) Oh, that we had known then what we know now! We’d have celebrated their life.
Good friends, great time – lots of photos.
One of my few limo rides was with these smiling faces. (Thank you Lana and Tim for this gift!)
We celebrated the 25th anniversary of Rick and Denise (center). We partied in style. Karen was a natural beauty.
Lana and Tim, another couple I dearly love. We need to keep in touch since we live across the country from each other.
The next day we had a tour of the Biltmore mansion.
We had lunch in the Stable Café. We caught up on our children, laughed at some of our parenting memories and just genuinely enjoyed each others’ company.
A frame-worthy photo, which was another suggestion by Karen.
I have no idea what Rick whispered to Russ here, but he loved to laugh.
We toured the Biltmore Winery and this was the landscape design. Another suggested shot by my photo-genius friend.
Karen helped me frame this picture, too. The color and beauty of the landscape in this picture could also frame the picture of their lives. They were a bright, creative, firmly planted couple who radiated their Creators’ image. Karen and Russ were a beautiful part of this world. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention here that we’ve been robbed of their greatness. We are left with the knowledge that a 50 year old man with drugs and an open container in his car walked away with a laceration to the forehead.
However, just as she taught me how to focus my camera lens, our focus should be on telling their story not his! She had an eye for detail, a heart for love, a creative spirit and a laugh that tickled your ears. We could be in a crowded room and the sound of Karen’s laugh alerted me that my friend was indeed in the house. I will miss knowing that she is just across state lines from us. I am grateful to our Lord for the privilege of knowing this beautiful woman and her precious husband. In her sweet, short life she brought brightness, a positive attitude and was an example to follow. She was a great mother, wonderful wife, sweet friend and devoted Christ follower. May you both rest in peace, Russ and Karen. You are already missed. May God comfort and continue to lead your three blessings, Brent, Jake and Emily.
And to all of you, my dear friends who faithfully read this blog, let’s please do a better job of keeping in touch. In an instant our tomorrows can be snatched from our grasp.