I really don’t know how to begin this other than my friend and photography partner of four years or better, Mary E. Lawler is now deceased. My emotions are jumbled right now as I’ve posted on Facebook, Instagram, and even YouTube a tribute to someone whom I have known for a very short span of time. And the response has been outpouring ever since!
I first met Mary on Flickr sometime in either 2008, or 2009. We have yet to cross paths in person at the time. And because she went by her Muslim name at the time, “Adeeba”, I was hesitant to even meet her, because-and I mean no disrespect to anyone who is a Muslim-but it was my experience that Muslim women, especially the black ones, were not very approachable, neither were they very friendly, thankfully Mary was an exception. She was raised as a Suni Muslim, but converted to Christianity in her later years. You know I told her that several times within the last few months of her life that I was afraid to approach her let alone be approached by her? I revealed that to her recalling the first few times that we actually met years ago. True story indeed.
Eventually, we would meet together at a photography gathering. The first of many between us was at Campus Martius, when a fellow photographer named Ross Sandelius had offered to anyone to meet with him for an afternoon rove, and that’s how Mary and I had met, and it wasn’t until later on-give or take between a few weeks, a month, tops-that we would cross paths again at a restaurant downtown where local photographers would hook up at a bar and swap prints of the photos they’ve taken. Long story short, neither one of us had prints, but we hit it off rapidly, and it just snowballed from there. It was a fast ride, and alluva sudden it came to a complete stop. Little did I realize that it would be a permanent one! Maybe not according to Revelation 21:3, 4 where Jesus promises a resurrection of the dead, which a vast majority of us are looking forward too.
But time will only allow so much for me to delve into this subject. In five years or less, I was closer to this woman than I was anyone in my family, my religion, my community, etc. I have watched this woman work wonders with a camera, raise a son, run a household, and eventually move into an apartment in the ‘burbs. This woman leaves cherished memories never to be forgotten by those who loved her. As I write this entry, I still cannot believe that she’s gone. And the tears are flowing right now.
But in the very short that we have known one another, we were virtually inseparable, we may have gotten on each other’s nerves to put it mildly, but we never had a falling out! And we were both Nikon DSLR users at that. We’ve shot weddings together, fashion shows, still life, nature, even senior shots. Now there are other photographers whom I can work with, but no one, even if they were more resourceful and more talented than she, they will never be like her! Mary had left such a void that’s not gonna be filled very easily.
Gone too soon at 47 years young. I think about Steve “Woz” Wozniak and his thoughts about Steve Jobs. “You can never get that time back” as Woz woefully expressed. My thoughts exactly.
What really drew us together other than being photographers from Detroit who were nine years apart and attended rival high schools in the 80s, was that we were only children, the only exception in my case is that I was a twin. As I’ve expressed my missing him since birth, I spoke with her as long as she was willing to listen to me about this longtime gap that remains unfilled. She encouraged me to move on. When I expressed my feelings about an ex-girlfriend of mine, all the same she encouraged me to move on. When I told her that I wanted to start working for myself one day, she encouraged me to go for it! There were times that we’d talk for hours on end. She was virtually the big sister that I wish I could’ve had. Like I said, time will not allow me to discuss at length about my relationship with this woman. I owe a lot to her! Because of her, I went to my first wine-tasting some years back, I’ve gotten to know other photographers from Detroit. Some of whom have been featured all over the world! Heck, because of her, I’ve finally, finally bought an iPhone. And I’ve been hooked on it since!
We had fun to say the least. The last time I’d seen Mary just hours before my service at the Kingdom Hall that Sunday (thankfully I attended a service the day before), I shared the scripture at Isaiah 33:24 where it says “…NO resident will say: “I am sick.””
My friend is no longer in pain, no longer suffering, no longer under stress. She’s resting in peace now. I will miss her very very much
And there’s one more thing! Because of her, I’ve gotten into macaroons as well. Thanks Mary!
And now, a slideshow in honor of a close friend who has given me the best four years of my life. Only fitting.