“This is what I like about photographs.
They're proof that once, even if just for a heartbeat, everything was perfect.”
by Skip Cohen
*Apologies for using Jodi Picoult's quote again in a post - but there really isn't one better when it comes to looking at old photographs.
It's a not-so-typical Sunday morning, only because it's Mother's Day, and to put it quite simply, I miss my Mom. The shot above is from a series Bambi Cantrell captured after spending a day with my folks in 2008. It's one of my favorites, taken a couple of years before Alzheimer's came full force into our lives.
But my point isn't to talk about missing Mom, but all the times she and my dad come into my thought stream virtually every day, not just on Mother's Day. There isn't a day that something doesn't remind me of my folks. Most of these moments are stellar memories that bring a smile to my face, even a quiet whispered, "Miss ya!"
My Mom and I weren't always close, but moving to Florida was one of the best things I ever did. It gave me quality time with my parents, and even with Alzheimer's, Mom's core personality never changed. Plus, Sheila got a chance to know my mother. My mother loved her, even though her timing was off just a little - she was convinced that she and Sheila did a lot of volunteer work when they were younger. It didn't matter; the room would light up when she and Sheila were together.
Alzheimer's is a horrible disease. An emotional burglar sneaks into your house and robs you of a loved one right before your eyes. But even broken-hearted, we made the best of it. We'd learn to look for those isolated lucid moments where the "sun came out from behind the clouds." As Dad used to say, "I'm going to squeeze every drop of joy I can get out of every minute we're together." And he did just that!
Here's my point - I miss my mother every day. She passed away just weeks before she wouldn't have known who we were. It's bitter-sweet, bitter obviously in losing her, but sweet in that I know she's at peace and hanging out with Dad now.
Minutes before Mom passed away; Dad whispered in her ear, "What an incredible run we had!" They were married just short of 63 years!
So, to all of you who are moms, Happy Mother's Day. And to everyone who still has their mother around, don't waste a second. Cherish your time together, and as photographers, set up a camera and shoot a little video. Plop Mom down in front of the camera and ask her to tell you a few backstories: how she met your father, places she grew up, favorite memories - anything you can watch and smile about years from now.
Learn from my mistakes - One of my very few regrets is not doing that with Mom and Dad myself. I'd love to be listening to those stories right now.
Wishing everybody a terrific day ahead and time to appreciate your mothers. Make it a day where you create new memories - the kind that will make you smile years from now. And this is definitely a day for those long eleven-second hugs.
Happy Sunday, Mother's Day, or Monday, if you're on the other side of the world!
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.