Our Site Gallery

Today, I was reminded that oursitegallery.com is going to expire. That’s the website we created to show clients works in progress. Rick stored lots of files there when he was working on menus, flyers, and other print media. He used it as a backup as well as a location for client files.

Last May, when the domain was about to expire, we discussed whether to keep it or not. Now that I look back on the time, we were starting to downsize the company. Rick was losing weight, the pneumonitis wasn’t abating. He was in remission, but he was weak. We still had hope that he’d recover, but it was a daily battle for him just to rise from his bed and keep up with the monthly newsletter he did for a major client, and to keep current with updates for the clients who paid for those.

I remember saying that we should just let the domain expire. I guess I knew we wouldn’t be taking on any new clients, so we wouldn’t need it for them to preview Rick’s new designs.

Then I realized that the site had more than just “old files”: it is a history of Rick’s work, his designs, and his ideas. I couldn’t just let that be wiped out. By now, I hoped against hope that he would live, but always in the back of my mind was the nagging thought that he might not be here next year. Wouldn’t I want a chronicle of his works, a piece of his creativity to remember him by?

So I told him that I’d need time to backup all the files and sort through what was important and what could be discarded. And I honestly wasn’t up to the task in the midst of doing my own job, helping him with clients, and most of all, helping him survive the ordeal of medications and hospitalizations and day to day living with his weakening body.

So here it is time to renew the domain name or let it go. It’s time to go through the site. The domain expires in 90 days, so I thought I’d get ahead of the task and download all the files today.

And as I pour through the contents, it’s made me sad.

I’m sad for so many reasons. I’m sad for the loss of a man who had such talent, and I question did I tell him that enough? He had won more than 30 awards in his career for his creativity and talent, but how often did I tell him that he was special?

I’m also sad for each file that reminds me of a client who took advantage of his sincerity and desire to please – who asked for numerous free updates, or dismissed his work or took for granted the fact that he’d really done a fantastic job.

I feel very protective of him now. He was always so strong when he was alive. Well, everyone thought so. But he often was insecure and trying to please others and not convinced of his talent. And I resent anyone who treated him with less than the respect he deserved. I see the one client’s website that he recreated in Flash – after teaching himself the very technical details needed to do so. He was self-taught and he knuckled down and created a site that was perfect. At the time, we were trying to establish the company, so we were charging ridiculously low prices for small business clients. He definitely did not get the money he deserved for the work he put into the site.

He was an extremely hard worker. He loved what he did, but he still worked hard to achieve everything we earned. Did I tell him that enough?

As I look through this archive of his projects, I wish he was here so I could hug him and tell him how proud I am of him and all he accomplished. I hope he knew. I hope he felt my pride. I hope I told him enough.

Feb 20, 2018

About the author

Katherine Billings Palmer is a technical writer, poet, and essayist from Garden City, Michigan. She’s won several academic writing awards, including first place in the University of Michigan Dearborn Critical Essay Contest for her work about poet John Donne: “‘The Sun Rising’: A Lover’s Boast.”

In 2017, Katherine’s husband, Rick, died of complications from small cell lung cancer. She wrote a series of poems and essays about her struggles to cope with her grief. I Wanted to Grow Old With You is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

Her latest book, A Widow’s Words: Grief, Reflection, Prose, and Poetry – The First Year was published in January 2019 and is also available on Amazon.com.

Katherine is a guest blogger for the Hope for Widows Foundation and writes about her grief journey at www.TheWritingWidow.com.

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