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Saturday, August 21, 2010
Guest Blogger Takes Over!
In April, Amy Peterson graced my family as our photographer for a family gathering. My father had just turned 70 and it was just a couple months before my parents' 46th wedding anniversary on the 4th of July. My dad always said he married a firecracker! At that gathering, Amy captured this photo of my dad tenderly smooching my mommers' nose. This photo captures much.
It has been said (and sung) that a picture is worth a thousand words. I may use that many to describe some things to you, as I give you a testimonial of the value of Amy's incredible eye for photos - at least to me and my family! In January 1982, my mother (I call her Mommers) was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had her first mastectomy on my 12th birthday the next month. In some ways, I am ever grateful that I can never forget that particular date. It marks for me the extension of my life with my Mommers. In January 1990 she had a recurrence. In January 2004 she was hospitalized with a collapsed lung; the fluid around her lung contained breast cancer cells.
In the years since 2004, Mommers has battled through multiple surgeries, through numerous chemotherapy treatments. She saw me marry the love of my life (who happened to have been the boy next door growing up) and become a mom to Vincent (4) and Verona (2). This past January, her cancer markers increased significantly; it was spreading - and it was already in her sternum, ribs and liver. The night that my dad called to tell me this news, I called my siblings (who both live out-of-state) and asked them to come for Easter, Dad's birthday, and to see Mommers without having to say it was a trip to see her. This gathering marked the last time we would be together, as our YiaYia (Greek for grandmother, my mom's mom) passed away in May. I had the forethought to ask Amy to capture these moments.
This photo I've posted is one that has touched so many. My dad immediately asked me for a large print of this when I first showed him. A stranger once likened it to the work of Annie Liebowitz (I immediately called Amy to tell her this).
Last week, my dad asked my sister - who has taken more than a month away from her own family and life in North Carolina to come and do the important task of caring for our Mommers as she has entered Hospice care at home - and me to go with him to the funeral home at which he has pre-arranged a funeral for the love of his life. He wanted our help in choosing a casket. As we were shown around the facility, he saw a woven throw blanket that had a picture of a couple - the funeral director's grandparents. She told us that this was something they did for the family. My dad turned to me, eyes welling with tears, eyebrows lifted in a hopeful manner. I knew instantly: he wanted this photo to be crafted into such a throw. It would be the enlargement he wished for, and it would also be a way for him to wrap himself in the love they have always shared, to hold his wife after she leaves this plane to join God - restored, in perfect form.
This photo meant so much to my family and me when Amy captured it and we saw it for the first time. It has come to represent the growth and depth of my parents' love. It reflects their tenderness. It shows my mother's beauty, even with all the battles she has faced for nearly three decades. I am grateful to have that captured, commemorated.
I'm grateful to Amy for inviting me to be her guest blogger to share my thoughts. Perhaps you thought you were going to read some scandalous story from a mystery person hacking onto her blog. I am grateful to those of you who took the time to read what I have shared. You have participated in my therapy as I try to come to terms with the challenges of learning to let go so that we can all Let God. Kiss your loved ones. Share your feelings. Embrace the moments...and even find the way to smile through sadness. My Mommers recently asked me with a voice stronger than she should have right now, "Please don't cry." I'm going to attempt to honor her request right now...
With gratitude, JuliAnne Pardon Diesch...Amy's guest blogger on 21 August 2010.