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3 months, 4 weeks ago 5
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I was flying home from my trip out ot St. George UT and was listening to music on my iPad. A song came up from Jordan Smith and Michael W.  Smith, “All is well”  Their rendition was especially heart felt.  Many people have emailed, called and stopped by to ask how Sherelene and I are doing and I felt I needed to let you guys know.  Of course this kind of loss will require a long term recovery.  In the first few days I was numb and found it hard to wrap my head around that Wes was gone, from here.  From the moment he passed God has given us incredible strength and peace.  I have genuine joy knowing where he is and what his condition is now.

 

Over the past couple of years I have been spending a great deal of time talking to and encouraging Jim Haverstock after he lost Sue to cancer. I never realized that my attempting to help Jim was preparatiion for what we would face.  In an attempt to better encourage Jim I started to buy and read books about the after life and NDE’s (near death experiences).  As it turns out there are a number of excellent books about documented cases and studies of people that have died and had an experience, only to come back to life and share their stories. If you have a deep fear fo death or know anyone that does I can highly recommend the books, Life After Life (Raymond Moody) and God and the Afterlife, (Dr. Jeffery Long)  Both books are based on an ehaustive studies and examinations of afterlife experiences.  The bottom line is that a large number of common experiences are reported by a majority of people who have experienced this NDE.  Learning about them will bring you great comfort and faith!

 

Let me reach out to you, encourage you and share some important thoughts that are happening at this point, in this siutation.  I am overwhelmed with:

 

Joy:  I know where Wes is now, and I know he is in perfect peace, is not having any more pain and is enveloped in the greatest love one could ever know or experience.  As much as I miss him, and I miss him terribly, I would never want him to leave that world,  for this world.

 

Peace:  I know that God has granted me a peace that goes beyond understanding. I know that God never does anything that is not for our ultimate good.  A dear pastor friend shared with me that, “not all things are good, but God uses all things for our good!”  I know that Wes is at peace and God is giving me peace.

 

Sadness:  I miss Wes so very much.  I find myself thinking I will just go over to his house and see him, but that will have to wait until I too go on to be with the Lord, and am reunited with him and so many others I’ve lost here.

 

Regret:  No one knows when someone they love will go on to Heaven.  I wish I had spent even more time with Wes.  The Tuesday before he died, Sherelene spent the whole day with him and I stayed home to baby sit Chester, oh how I wish I had dropped Chester off at the kennel and gone with her!  I share this to encourage you to take time out of your schedule to spend with those you love, we never know when it is out last day here on this earth.

 

Pride:  I am so very proud of my children; Scott, Wes and Catherine.  They all have become wonderful people, filled with love and devotion for their families.  They have raised great kids and they all have many wonderful friends.  At Wesley’s Celebration of Life a line of his friends and associates filed past us for over 2 and half hours and I got a real picture of how far reaching his love was in this world, it was a great gift, he left us!

 

Commitment:  I now have a great opportunity and mission to help with the raising of his children Abigail and Elijah. One of Wesley’s greatest traits was how deeply he felt for anyone that was having struggles and how much he wanted to  help them.  Rhonda is a fantastic mother and she has the support of her family and Sherelene and I are committed to help support them in every way possible.

 

Let me share something with you that I feel compelled to offer.  It would not be possible for me to even function without the presence of my Lord.  God has given us the strength to get through this loss and He wants to be there for you too.  If you do not have a personal relationship with Him, please conisder how vital it is to know Him and have Him by your side. I know that the moment my heart stops I will be face to face with Jesus and reuntied with family and friends that have gone on.  I want you to have that same assurance!!  Since we will all face loss and all must someday leave these bodies, I pray I see you there on that day!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

4 months, 1 week ago 18
Posted in: Uncategorized

 

When Wesley was a little boy we were standing in the front yard, I had my camera shooting pictures of him just playing and I asked him, “How much do you love me?” he immediatly stretched his arms wide until his little chest was pushing forward and said, “this much!”

 

It’s hard in times like this to not to want to ask God, “do you really love me?”  I haven’t and I never will!  Let me tell you why.

 

God gave Sherelene and I three wonderful children and we got to keep Wes for 45 years.  I will always treasure every second of that time.  I’m thankful we did not loose him sooner.

 

God loved me and you so much He sent his “only” son to suffer and die so that we could be forgiven of our sins and have eternal life.  When I think how much I’ve suffered knowing Wes is gone from here, I can’t even imagine sacrificing Him for anyone else. What an incredible, impossible sacrifice He made for us.  Yet HE did.

 

I still have Scott and Diane, Hannah and Ben, Rhonda and Elijah and Abigail, Catherine and Clint, Cassidy, and Cade in my life and I treasue every one of them.

 

God allowed me to marry the most beauftiful and loving women in the world and through it all she is still here almost 50 years later. I’ve spent the last fifty years trying to figure out how on earth I pulled that off!

 

Lastly for the last day I’ve heard and read written words of sympathy and love for Wes and his family, Sherelene and I over and over, hundreds of times.  No greater thing than real, true freinds can any man ever possess.

 

I sit here in my office this morning wondering how on earth could anyone be so blessed as I am.  Then God spoke strongly to me in my spirit and said, “Because this is how much I love you.”

 

I am cradled in the arms of God,

 

the pilgrim

4 months, 1 week ago 156
Posted in: Uncategorized

 

How does a father say goodbye to a much loved son?  Wesley leaves a wife, Rhonda Lee Fortney,  a son, Elijah Pierce Fortney and a daughter Abigail Brooklyn Fortney.  A brother William Scott Fortney, Diane Fortney and a sister Catherine Anne Moore, and Clint Moore.  His mother Sherelene Scott Fortney and myself, William Glenn Fortney.  He also leaves a large host of friends and family who have been sending messages from near and far away, expressing their love for him and our family.

 

This is not an obituary, Wes simply moved to a new address.  When my children were younger I told them when they once asked about when I was going to die, when a  friends parent passed, I  explained it this way; ” You guys know I go on trips and I’m gone for a while and then I come home, you know I’m somewhere, just not here. Well someday I will go on a long trip and I won’t come back here, but I will be at a place that you will come to and see me later.”  That comforted them then and it comforts me now, Wes is at a place where he is safe, not in pain and filled with peace and joy, and someday, I will go to where he is and be with him again, and this time to never be seperated again.

 

I shot thousands of photographs of my three precious children.  Here are just a few of my favorite images of Wes.

 

 

This angelic image of Wesley and Catherine at the lake has always been one of my favorites!  They loved each other so much.

 

 

Only a week ago Wesley’s brother Scott, who he always called his “hero in life” , came up from Florida to give his stem cells to Wes  in this battle against Lymphoma.  They had three great days together in the hospital to just really enjoy each other, Wes told me it was one of the greatest times of his life.

 

 

One of my all time favorite images is of Wes and Sherelene standing on top of Mount LaConte, I’m sure this is the kind of beauty he is enjoying today, look at those smiles! No, I didn’t climb Mount LaConte, a fellow hiker shot this image, but I love this image so much.

 

 

Before the 911 attacks Wes and I traveled 123,000 miles over 14 months and photographed from and ultra Light airplane for our book, America From 500 Feet.  Even though the book was a run away best seller, the real treasure was that 14 months I spent with Wes!  I will hold on to those memories for the rest of my life. Thank you son for that gift.

 

 

This was our last photograph made as a family just last week.  Wes was doing great and we were all so happy to be with him.  Left to right, myself, Rhonda, Cassidy, Wes Scott, Sherelene and Catherine.

 

Yesterday morning at 5:30 am when starting a bag of platlates Wes coded and was 40 minutes with out a heartbeat.  The medical team made heroic efforts to bring him back but in the late afternoon he simply went to sleep and went on to be with his Lord.  His suffering was over, our was beginning.

 

Wesley was a warm caring man, a great father and husband, a wonderful brother and son.  He touched countless peoples lives and was always thinking of others needs.  He cried everytime he lost a friend, and now we are crying at his loss. He will never be forgotten by any of us, and if you have made peace with your God, I know he will be at the gates to greet you when you arrive, that’s just who he was and is.

 

In Loving Memory,

 

Your earthly father

 

 

Prolog:  No parent should ever have to loose a child.  The saving grace for Sherelene and me was that we know where he is now and are greatly comforted to know he is truly with our Lord.  You know what is coming next, if you are not sure if you will ever meet Wesley there, you can make sure you do!  Talk to a pastor, or call me, or get on your knees and ask God to give you that assurance, I know that is what Wesley wanted, for everyone he met, to know the Lord as he did.

5 months ago 7
Posted in: Uncategorized

 

We all struggle with what is fair when it comes to making a photogrpaph.  This video

does not attempt to anwer that question, but does breath life in to the possibilities!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim