Writer’s Note: At the request of the Bobby Moore and his family, I am sharing this narrative and photograph. This story was never meant to be seen by anyone. It was written solely for my own healing and to digest the very poignant moment I had just experienced. As I watched Bobby with his wife, I knew I was privileged to share a moment that conveyed volumes of time. As a photojournalist, I know photographs such as this capture verbs. It is a window into the event; a bearing witness, if you will. The Moore family have hope that publishing this piece will grant healing to others.
Today, I witnessed a story of love. Not the type of love shared by young people who are half full of passion, topped off with hormones. It was not the type of dewy love experienced by newlyweds who are enthralled with the idea of exclusive devotion and the happily ever after.
In such a world as ours, where vows are broken as quickly as the downing of a gavel, what I saw today was a rarity, a diamond exquisite in design.
Today I saw a man, a broken man, standing vigil over his most prized possession. Here was love personified.
When he walked into the room his steps were faulty, but his determination was undaunted. His eyes were fixed upon his destination at the front of the room. A steel grey casket sat under the colored lights. Half of its lid was propped open; the closed half held a spray of vivid, mix-matched flowers adorned with ribbons which read the words “wife” and “mother.” Upon approaching and without pause, he leaned down and kissed her painted lips, his frail body trembling to keep upright.
So gentle and soft came his words to her. Surely these words were spoken innumerable times, but this time it was shrouded in finality.
“I know you can’t hear me,” he whispered. “But, I love you.”
And his tears fell.
Listen: Robin Bailey and Bec Sparrow reflect on the concept of death, and speak to professionals about what we can learn from those who have passed. Post continues after audio.
Family visitation was not scheduled for another hour or so, but he had come early. He wouldn’t squander these last few hours. For over 60 years she had been by his side, but it still wasn’t enough. Not near enough.