In Memory of Bern

I was asked if I might write a journal entry about Bern, who was a fellow photographer on TPW and who died on November 14, 2008 in his 82 year. His user name was “bgs1926” and what had first caught my eye was indeed this very user name. I had assumed correctly that 1926 was this gentleman’s date of birth and it had impressed me that a gent of 82 was participating online in a social network, sharing photographs and communicating with folks, on average, generations younger.I had hoped, before writing this entry, to be able to review all of his photographs again and I continue to try to do so; however, as you may be aware, TPW is experiencing technical difficulties which don’t allow easy access.But, having said that, the photographs that Bern submitted are as clear in my mind’s eye as they might be if they were on the screen here in front of me. What was particularly noteworthy is the sky scenes that Bern submitted; they truly were spectacular. I don’t know if it was coincidence or if someone in management of TPW knew Bern had died on Friday, but Bern’s submission of his Orange Sunset was featured as POD….and either by design or by happenstance, it was a fitting tribute.Interesting isn’t it….how we develop friendships online and yet there is only so much we can ever know about our friends in this medium. These are the things I learned about Bern over the months that I was in contact with him:

1. Bern’s photos reflected his love of nature; skies, sunsets, sunrises, flowers, birds, and landscapes.
2. Bern was equally at home photographing aspects of domestic life….formal dining rooms; a cake baked and set on a fancy plate; fish swimming in a tank.
3. Bern must have had a successful marriage because often, his photos would be of his late wife, whom he called “My Girl”. Theirs must have been a wonderful love affair.
4. Bern’s reviews of other’s work reflected a genuine interest and curiousity about the world around him. He would often ask me questions about the places I had travelled.
5. Bern was a gentleman and a caring friend. I know that I can attest to this personally because he expressed to me concern when I was diagnosed with cancer. During the week before I went in for surgery, Bern published 5 photos of roses in my honor. I can’t express how deeply touched I was by his kind gesture.
I was heartbroken to hear Bern had died…but this too is life and Bern had lived his life to the full. Imagine! Just how many 82 year old people are as computer literate and as fully engaged in life as Bern seemed to be?!
Toward the end of his days, he seemed somewhat discouraged. He wrote a message once that said…“I don’t know how much longer I can hang on” I wrote back..“If you hang in Bern, so will I…..Don’t give up”
I learned of Bern’s death through a personal message on TPW from his granddaughter Caroline. She had found the last message I had written to Bern. I had written to him several days before his death telling him that we missed him; we were praying for him and we wanted to see more of his photos.
I didn’t hear back from Bern; Caroline answered my message; She said that TPW meant a great deal to Bern; that he talked to his family about his friends there and how they appreciated his work.
Short days before Bern died, he published a glorious sky…..puffy clouds, deep blue patches and rays of sunlight; I believe he titled this piece “Where I Want to Be”….Is it possible that this was Bern’s idea of heaven?
No doubt, Bern is now there….and I wish him blue skies and sunshine forever, finally at peace with “his girl”.

In Memory of Bern


Richmond Hill, Canada

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A Tribute To Bern: 1926-2008

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