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"Job held his fist up, asking ‘Why, why, why?’ to which God responded, 'You’re not asking the right question'. " Bruce Schell, Kay's husband

In the twisting mountains of NC’s kookiest town, I visited Kay, a clinical psychologist and ex-tennis pro whose bucolic home belies the challenges of living with chronic illness, as well as her husband’s, Bruce, terminal stomach cancer.  One sunlit afternoon with Bruce, Kay, and Kay’s beloved partner in dog therapy, Misha,  I asked them about faith, and why we bother inviting love in when life is so cruel. This couple, tested by (and soon  to be separated by) forces we can never understand, are significant to me because I began to truly face what I wanted from this journey. Bruce died in December 2011- I spoke to Kay, who misses him unbearably. But in this moment, in the summer before:


Kay and her sweet Misha embrace and things feel peaceful.
I took pictures of the “his-and-her easy chairs” in the living room when I first arrived. I liked the natural and long-term image of them, before I knew Bruce would pass soon. I'm including his chair in the book. I debated it, felt maudlin and fake and disrespectful.
But I think about Bruce almost everyday, and look at that picture often, how stable, soft and real it is. I only met him for a few hours, once. But it’s a loss more people should know about, because he was so strong in his faith and the love of his woman. I am so grateful to have spent time with him and Kay. I included this chair in the colorful, funky collage of Asheville because it is the thing I remember most. lt’s them I think about when I wonder if I’m making any kind of difference with this project, if I can do justice to any of these wonderful people who want to help me.