Submitted by Thereasa Gwinn Photography
Photographed in North Carolina (Currently serving Lubbock, TX)
When coming to North Carolina, I never imagined the journey I’d have while here. This was not a physical journey, but a journey of the heart and soul. I joined the choir at the local Catholic Church and met so many people full of faith and love. Each of them had their own stories from lives well lived. One of the stories that touched me the most was that of Lois and Birch.
This past Spring, Birch was strong and healthy after having Cardiac Bypass Surgery and completing Rehab. He and Lois were planning a wonderful vacation to Alaska with friends. Then, he started feeling ill. Birch went to the doctor and was prescribed Antibiotics. After 2 weeks, he still wasn’t feeling better and tests were run. When the doctor called, it wasn’t good news. The tumor was pressing on his ureter. By the time he went in for surgery, the tumor had grown and had no clear margins and was unable to be removed. Chemo was attempted but the tumor continued to grow. At this point, the only question to be asked was, “How much time?”
But, this is not the story of a dying man. THIS is the story of a man who lived life, a life full of love. Birch and Lois have had a long loving marriage. They have 3 children and 8 beautiful grandchildren who love them. When talking to Lois and Birch about his cancer, I found out how he loved working with wood. Lois showed me some of the pieces of furniture he made in the house and they are wonderful! Birch also told me about how he had photographed a friends wedding once. This is a man with talent and a love for art.
When I asked Lois how she was doing, she told me that she is doing well. God has blessed them with a life more full than they could have wished for. I wish I had more time to get to know Birch even better but getting to know them as much as I have, has lifted my faith and helped me on my journey. God places people in our path for a reason and I’m happy to have been able to photograph this family together for the last time.