Tragedies and memories

A tragedy yesterday in my hometown of Forest City reminded me of a photo that I took years ago during a sunset behind a rusty windmill in Union County. As I was stopped along side the road taking the picture a car pulled up behind me.

The sun sets behind a windmill in Union County south of Winterset, Iowa.

The sun sets behind a windmill in Union County south of Winterset, Iowa.

A gentleman rolled down his window and said good evening to me. We talked about the beauty of the sunset and the rolling prairie that faded off into the distance for several minutes before he told me that he had just come from a funeral visitation for a close friend that had passed away.

That’s when he told me that his friend would be proud to see someone, like myself, alongside the road taking time to appreciate a simple sunset. His heart was heavy as he rolled his window up and drove away.

It was a powerful moment for me, knowing that memories and snapshots are often all we have to remember loved ones that have passed. That man and his story about missing his friend that night will always be attached to this photograph.

I hope that the family in my hometown that suffered such a devastating loss this weekend can hold on to the memories of their children and look at simple things like sunrises and sunsets as a reminder of their joyful memories.