This post has been brewing in my heart and mind for a bit. I couldn’t decide if it was too personal for this blog, but it is such a huge part of me that I wanted to share. I want to introduce you to my Momma. We have quite a history, she and I. After way too many years in a bad marriage (to my father), she freed herself. I loved watching her getting to know herself without him and as I grew into an adult, becoming friends with my Mom. We traveled Europe together (with Kaylinn and her Mom), spent the weekends shopping and just enjoyed life together. Five years after the divorce, she was diagnosed with Carcinoid cancer.
For nearly 10 years, she fought courageously. I often said that she was my miracle. Her first surgery lasted over 12 hours, where literally hundreds of tumors were removed and her body was left badly damaged, but you never heard her complain. Cancer became our normal. I have a hard time remembering what it was like when my Mom didn’t have doctors appointments and experimental treatments. She didn’t let it slow her down. That trip to Europe was in the middle of chemo treatments. Year after year, she fought, she won so many battles. I knew, somewhere in the far corner of my mind, that one day the cancer would take her. She loved me and my brother fiercely and did absolutely everything she could to be here with us.
On June 26 of this year, I lost my best friend. My listening ear when life was overwhelming and a shoulder when I needed to cry. My travel partner and my teacher. My hero. My encourager. My constant cheerleader. My Momma. She was my rock. She always said yes. Yes to a last-minute dinner. Yes to a trip to Africa with my family. Yes to sledding with her grandson. Yes to my craft ideas that I inevitably needed her help with. Yes, yes, yes.
As I look back on this year, I see that I she was extra sick, but none of us, including her, knew that this time was the one that would take her from us. Even six months later, most days, I can’t comprehend that she is really gone. I miss her every day, nearly every hour. Losing her has truly changed me. I am still learning who this new person is. It has strengthened my belief in living a big, full life, connecting with people, making memories and capturing them. If you see me wipe a tear as you hug your Grandma on your wedding day, just know that I’m thinking of her. If I ask you to pose for an extra photo with your Mom, it is because I know that moments are fleeting and memories are precious.
Here are a few of my favorite photos of my beautiful, strong, generous, loving Momma.
Right before her first surgery.
Crafting for Maya’s room.
On the banks of the Mississippi River in New Orleans on a trip to see her Carcinoid specialist.
Walking me down the aisle.
Pretty sure I got my love of photography from her.
Always serving. Always helping.
Meeting Maya for the first time.
Sledding in Colorado with Alain.
Christmas tree farm last year, 2015.
I Love this photo of her watching me watch Maya. The generations of mommying.
The last photo I have with her on Mother’s Day of 2016.