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copyright Karen UlvestadI’ve been quiet. I’ve been very quiet lately. I’ve been focused on each day, and making the best of it. It’s how I process information, and I’ve received a lot of it the past 3 years. These are my thoughts for healing the past, and moving on into the new year.

It started the Christmas of 2011. I suddenly realized that a person in my life was not going to be around the next Christmas. If they were, they might not recognize any of us, and we definitely would not be at the tree farm with them.

copyright Karen UlvestadSo, I picked-up my camera, and started to document the final year of my father-in-law’s life. He slowly succumbed to Parkinson’s. The dementia took his mind, and the disease destroyed his body.

The death march started New Year’s Eve in 2012. My cousin suddenly died. Definitely didn’t see this coming! I hadn’t seen her in years, but she was several years younger than myself. Then, my husband’s aunt died. Again, it was unexpected. Before the end of the day on January 3rd, my father-in-law passed away.

Within 72 hours, three family member passed away. . .

It’s an interesting place to be at the beginning of a new year. All the wakes and funerals were the same weekend, and spread between 2 states. We made the most important one, my father-in-father’s funeral.

The year was one of contemplation, as I helped my son come to terms with the loss of his favorite grandfather. I supported my husband in his grief for the loss of his father and aunt (second mom). It was a time of change.

The year passed, and 2014 came. It promised to be my best year ever with my business. I traveled to bird festivals speaking about bird photography, and lead groups into the field. It helped bring me out of the sadness of the previous year. As a family, we laughed again, and there were more smiles.

Suddenly, my dad died. He suffered a massive heart-attack, collapsed, and died.

I had spent the day teaching at a bird festival, came home, and within an hour there was a call from my sister telling me dad died. It was mid-May, and I was just beginning my busiest time of the year. I felt numb!

So, I focused on each day, and what I needed to accomplish. I stopped writing my photography blog. I struggled through writing stories for CBS Local, Examiner.com, and AXS.com. I am still struggling.

copyright Karen UlvestadI spent the summer going to and from the Oregon coast teaching bird photography workshops, and doing personal photography work. I took a chance, and broke even monetarily. It was hard in many ways, yet it helped me through the feelings regarding all the death in the past couple years.

So, I became very quiet.

My photographic vision felt the impact of these sudden changes. I began trying new ideas or techniques. I focused on capturing the beauty in all things. I explored new places.

I believe that the death of another person gives us the opportunity to live life more fully. It is the time that we can spiral downwards into deep depression, or decide to honor ourselves (and the person) by living life more fully.

May Everyone enjoy an incredible 2015, filled with great joy and prosperity. . .Karen

copyright Karen Ulvestad