Some of the most powerful relationships I have in this world are with women. There is something about that bond, intuition and shared experience as a female in this world that instills an awareness that we are connected by something we just can’t explain. We are one. It’s an understanding that men simply cannot wrap their brain around. That very thing is what makes these relationships so very special.
I lost my mom in September of 2017, 14 days before my 44th birthday. It was so much harder than I ever thought it would be. I miss her so very much because no matter what was going on with the two of us, she was my rock. She was the one person that knew me better than my husband or my best friends. I told her things I could never tell anyone else because I knew she would not only understand, but she would hurt with me, celebrate for me and no matter what time of day it was I knew she was thinking about me, worrying about me, praying for me and wishing with all her might that I was happy, healthy and well every minute of every hour of every day. That’s what moms do. We give up ourselves so that our babies can be themselves. It’s unlike any other relationship you can ever imagine.
I have photos of my mama. Not a lot and nothing really professional. Yes, this is double shameful because I’m a photographer, but I am thankful for what I have because I have something. Do you know how many families I talk to that have nothing? Not one photo of themselves with their mother, or with the family. It blows my mind!I was angry with my mother for many years. It was a silent anger that I could not express to her because I loved her so much I just couldn’t stand to hurt her. When she died, all of that anger left me instantly and I could not have been more grateful. But it really was this silent anger that kept me from building our visual history together. I could not be more regretful for that.After she died I had to clean out her home and found myself sitting for hours as I went through about 3 big tubs of photographs that spanned time from about the 1930’s through 2017. It was incredible. I got totally lost in photos of relatives I knew, some I didn’t. My mother’s friends from way before life threw her a couple of curve balls. That face when she laughed….my goodness. I saw hilarious photos of one of my brothers with a perm, another rocking out on a guitar, and my oldest brother looking so smart in his state trooper uniform. Photos of my mom hugging one of us, though I can’t figure out which one. Another as she perched herself so proudly on top of her first motorcycle. Each haircut, dye job and makeup trend told me stories about what decade she was in. Each photograph laid before me like a movie of her life in slow motion.Do I even have to explain to you the importance of those photographs? Do I have to tell you how much more important those photographs became after she passed? And what about these photos you see on this blog post…do you think you need to hear from these women about how important they are to each of them? Can you guess how grateful they will be when that is the last visual they have of their loved one?Here is the last photograph taken of my mama. This is her and me about 8 months before she passed. Hands down one of the most important photos in my life, taken on my phone.My advice? Start your own tub of photographs. You won’t regret it.