Outside of the Photograph

Every year around this time, I trip across this photo, thanks to a variety of social media reminding me what I was doing “on this day.”

In Chicago, standing in front of the theater, about to see the musical Wicked for the first time.  8 years ago today.  We were living in Madison and had traveled to Chicago for the show.  Every time I see this picture, I know exactly why I was there and what was going on “outside of the photograph.”

A few days before, I had a miscarriage.  Did not know I was pregnant until I went to the emergency room with severe pain.  Likely I was under 5 weeks pregnant, likely an ectopic pregnancy because of the pain, but too early to see anything on an ultrasound.  The doctor didn’t wait to find out.  After beta level tests confirmed that it was not viable, I was given medication to help nature take its course, if it hadn’t already.

We had plans to go to Arizona, but the doctor did not want me traveling, to add insult to injury.  So we made plans to see Wicked, as a small distraction.  Thought it was essentially over before I even knew it began, I was still devastated.  My status update from just a few days prior to this photo simply said “I’m hurting.”  Physically and emotionally, just hurting.

I look at this photo from last spring.  I suspected that I was pregnant, but did not know for sure yet.  I can almost see the anticipation in my face.

I look at a photo from last October, my birthday.  A mere 5 weeks after losing Nelle.  We took the kids to see Blue Man Group, again with the distractions.  I know what is going on “outside of the photograph” and I can see the pain in my face.

There are so many other photos.  I take a lot of photos – I love them and the memories they capture.  But they capture so much more than what is visible inside the frame, in the senses they evoke.  What is hiding under the surface.