MOM’S LAST PICTURE – Jacksonville, FL Photographer

MY LIFE   /  

Five years ago today around 11 o’clock in the morning with my Dad, Aunt, my brother and his wife, me, my husband and Josie surrounding her, my Mom took her last breath.  I remember that moment like it was yesterday and have a feeling I always will. It’s moments like this that stick with you and if you are lucky can be turned into something positive. In my case it was.

When we found out my Mom’s Breast Cancer five years prior had metastasized, I decided to quit my job to temporarily move home with Josie to help her recover. Little did we know that the disease would take her life in three and a half short months. Scared of not finding work again, one week before she died she called me in her room to tell me that if I wanted help starting a photography business then that’s what she would do. Unfortunately, she did not live long enough to see her dream for me come to life but I can honestly say without a doubt that she is the sole reason I am where I am today.  Not only did she push me to pursue my creativity by introducing me to SCAD years before, she was also strong enough to think of me and my dreams during the fight of her life. One month later I bought my first digital camera, opened a bank account and said a prayer.

This photo was the last ever taken of my mother. It was of her and my Josie. Her 1st and only grandchild, and favorite person on the planet at that time. She was so excited to finally be a grandmother.  I had just moved home with Josie and without my husband. She was thinking this would be a type of sabbatical from her teaching position and quickly learned that was far from the truth. A few days later she started to loose her hair from her treatment and wouldn’t allow me to take any more photos.  I know now why my passion for photography is so strong. It is images like these that is what is important. My entire house could burn down, but if I had my family and this photograph I know I would be fine.

I have tears today both sad and happy. Sad, because I miss her more that I think she could ever imagine and wish that she was here to see my kids grow up. But, happy because I believe that god has a plan for all of us. This was her path and now my job is to honor her life by making mine grand.  I know now the amount of love that she felt for me now that I am a mother. It’s truly a powerful feeling and I am so blessed to have it.

For those of you out there dealing with this disease or know someone who is my prayers are with you. In honor my mother, Louisa Merrill, and support to Breast Cancer Awareness Month I will be donating 5% of my October sales to American Cancer Society. Please find it in your heart to donate or get involved in this organization or The Hospice Foundation. Hospice is amongst the best in the world in kindness and humanity. If you would rather donate locally, Metcalfe Elementary is where my Mother spent 35 years shaping young minds. She loved that school and teaching, and they loved her enough to hang a memorial plaque outside of her classroom. You can contact the principle Pat Phillips and mention Mom’s name. They will certainly remember her. Thank you.

I love you Mom.
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