remembrances

My father was diagnosed with dementia a few months prior to my last post. For the past three years I have spent much of my time with my parents, looking for doctors, taking them to appointments, taking care of to-do lists, and generally just being with them. It is my hope that I provided mother with as much help as possible during this time, but I feel I fell short of that. Looking back, there are so many things I could have done and didn’t; not for lack of want, but more from lack of understanding just how impactful dementia is on not only the patient, but the caregiver.

Dementia is a cruel disease. Dad never could figure out why the doctors weren’t able to make him well. He shed many tears knowing that he was unable to take care of mother as he had always done. He hated not being able to drive and fought with every doctor that told him it was not something he would do again. He took the car a couple of times in the last year, without our knowing, just to prove to himself that he could. Thankfully, he never went far and was never gone very long.

James William Bowers, Jr. was born on June 13, 1927. He died at 12:20 am on July 6, 2017. He was 90.

I spent the last few weeks of dad’s life by his side, alongside mother. I slept in their room like I did as a small child only this time with the roles reversed. I’m still processing all of that and I’m certain I will for years to come. Mostly, I am grateful for the journey with them and that my brother and I were beside him as he took his last breath.

My mother’s love for her husband, my father, is and always will be, a thing of awe. The same is true for my father’s love for his wife, my mother. They were married for 68 years, 1 month, 2 weeks, and 5 days. He told her every day that she was the best thing that ever happened to him. He meant it.

My brother and I both shared our thoughts at dad’s funeral service. Not being a writer or a public speaker, I had to read what I had written as if it were a [small] chapter in a book. I couldn’t veer away from the written word or even look up much for fear of not being able to finish. I’d like to indulge in sharing those thoughts here as well, at the one month mark of dad’s passing.

So many people told me he lived a good, long life. It’s true, he did. But it’s never long enough when you’re a daddy’s girl.

I miss you so much, dad.

James W Bowers Jr

Dad, 2014

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Dad, 2017, on his 90th birthday

For my father, Jim Bowers

July 8, 2017

By Karan Simpson

I have not lost my father. I know exactly where he is. He is in the strength that resides within me to get through times like these; times of immense sorrow and heartbreak. He is in the joy that I feel for a beautifully sunny sky and a night sky filled with immeasurable starlight. He is definitely in the way I drive and in my decisions of the route to my destinations. He is in the way I make hospital corners on the flat sheet when I do make a bed and in the way I fold the corners of any gift I wrap. He is in my belief that I can do whatever I set my mind to do and he is also in my moments of self-doubt. He is in my competitive spirit, my sometimes quick temper, the compassion and generosity that is within me, and in my lessons of letting go. He is in my desire to better myself daily, to reflect on my decisions and how they impact others, to listen to my heart, and to hold myself as valuable. He is in the color of my eyes, the rare brown-eyed family members.

My father is in the intensity of which both my brother and I love our children and grandchildren; in the way we long to protect them and the way we know we must let them live and learn their own lessons. He is in the tender spot that melts every time I’m around children. My father is in my ability to think before I speak and he’s also there on occasions when I speak before I think.

He is in the tilled soil of every garden he planted to help feed his family. He is in my comfort using power tools. He is in my fierceness to do things myself.

I have not lost my father. His stubbornness resides within me as well as the satisfaction that comes from working with my hands. He is in my belief that people are fundamentally good when given the chance, no matter how many times they try to prove me wrong. He is in my ability to walk away from what harms me. He is in my knowledge that we all are flawed human beings. He is in my knowing of what it feels like to be loved. He is in my belief in a higher power and a universal love. He is in my knowledge that all souls are created equal and loved by God. My father is in my desire to good, to do no harm. He is in the best of me and in the part of me that falls short of that mark. He is in my determination to always get back up.

My father is in Jeremy’s quiet observations and Clint’s full speed ahead. He is in JT’s empathy and compassion and Hayden and Addie’s hearts.

He is in the love of reading that my nieces, nephew, and grandchildren possess.  He is in the golf swing of Jeremy and Clint, in my brother’s, sons’, grandsons’, and nieces’ love of baseball, my grandson’s and nephew’s love of basketball, and in the strategy of many little league baseball coaches. He is in the dedication and loyalty to team work of countless individuals. He is in the varied and many influences he had on each of us.

My father is in his fullness in the heart of my mother.

I have not lost my father. I know exactly where he is.

 

a summer day downtown…

With warm breezes off the river and more than a little road construction to deal with, we spent a lovely summer afternoon in downtown Nashville with our gorgeous friend, Jenna. She has been our client for several years and it is with such joy that we have watched her family grow from our engagement session with she and Brad through to the recent birth of their second daughter, whom we are excited to meet in our studio next month!

Jenna has a lot of exciting things going on her life; tv shows (The Better Show, Celebrity Wife Swap, Blossom Reunion), book deals, becoming a mother of 2! In fact, she was five months pregnant when we did this shoot! She carries those babies well, along with everything else.

Thank you for a beautiful afternoon, Jenna! We look forward to seeing you and meeting sweet Marlowe Monroe soon!

Meeting Joan

2011.02.04

Meeting Joan. 2011.04.02. TPAC

Meeting Joan. 2011.04.02. TPAC


I have never been more impressed with the sincerity, humbleness, graciousness, and gratefulness of a person of celebrity. I was very much surprised by this as we spent time together photographing the VIP Meet and Greet after her performance at TPAC. She grew more endearing to me as each person made their way through the line to meet and be photographed with her.

There was no pretense in her manner or spirit. She was connected and present. She remembered people who had seen her before and had attended other M&Gs with her in other cities. She was soft spoken. She made eye contact. Her eyes sparkled.

As I reflect on our encounter, her energy and manner reminded me as one of a favorite aunt, one whose visit would light up your life while you were together. What a lovely memory she left with me.

That will always be Joan Rivers to me. And it will always make me smile.

– Karan

randomness in the yard…

I’ve been pulling rocks out of the yard as we put up the pool. I came upon this yesterday. It almost cut me as I ran my hands through the dirt. It wasn’t hard to spot after that.

When I reached for it there was a natural way to pick it up to avoid the sharp edge of the curve, but what I instantly felt was the ease at which it fit my fingers.

When I turned it over I saw the bottom of the curved sharp edge was totally flat (third photo). My middle finger slid into a very well-worn groove from the top knuckle to the top of my finger. The fourth photo shows the location of my finger in the third photo. The groove is well pronounced.

The top of the rock fit my thumb perfectly in the smooth curved edge opposite of the sharp curved edge. There is a natural ridge for my thumb to rest as well.

Where my index finger rests there is also a very well-worn groove, as you can see in the sixth photo.

When held naturally with the sharp curved edge down it is a perfect cutting tool much like the one I use a lot shown in the last photo.

Tool find or random rock?

It sure feels good in my hand either way…

– Karan

{sarah & joe}

It may sound cliché, but the day was truly as gorgeous as the bride and groom, and the family, friends, and love that surrounded them on their special day.

We’ve known Sarah for many years. If you’ve followed our work in any kind of way over the past few years you’ve seen her featured in our galleries. In fact, she’s up there in the header, over to the left… We love Sarah. Simply put.

Sarah introduced us to Joe a little over a year ago. Harry and I immediately knew they were great together. They make beautiful music together… figuratively and literally. Almost two weeks ago they made it a life long commitment. We were so honored to share this day!

The ladies prepped…

The guys prepped, too…

The ceremony was joyful…

Then laughter, dancing, and meeting new family members ensued…

And then the real party began…

And new first steps taken…

We love you, Sarah and Joe! Many, many years of happiness await you…

Harry & Karan