Pictures are Priceless

I miss my Mom.

On this day, two years ago, she lost her battle with cancer. She fought for eight long years. The realization that she is gone is still incomprehensible to me. I thought she would be with us for a long time. I never thought she would leave us so soon, especially at the young age of 64.  I miss hearing about her bingo winnings. I always told her she could make it a career, because she always seemed to come home with money. I miss calling her up to discuss the wardrobe choice of Linda Kohlmeyer (lottery lady on WGN) and her inspirational messages when drawing the balls. She made us laugh.

When she was diagnosed with T-Cell Lymphoma, I never had a doubt in my mind that my Mom was going to beat it. She was the strongest person I knew and something like, cancer, wasn’t going to stop her. Little did I know that her struggles were going to be unimaginable. One person should not have had to deal with everything my Mother faced.

It was Easter morning when we had to say goodbye. We were all there by her bedside, her four daughters and her husband of 43 years. How does one even begin to say goodbye to their Mom? As we stared at the monitor, watching her oxygen levels slowly decrease, the idea of not having my Mom in my life began to terrify me. She was not going to bounce back and beat the odds, like she had done so many times before. It was the most helpless feeling I have ever felt. There was nothing I could do. There was nothing anyone could do. We just had to sit and watch our mother slowly leave us.

When I returned home, my husband and the kids were sleeping. I’m sure the kids were dreaming about all the goodies the Easter Bunny had left them. I didn’t even know how I was going to tell them that Grandma was gone. I couldn’t even believe it myself.

Two weeks before Easter, my Mom was sad thinking that she would not be able to see her 11th grandchild, who was due in June. Her eyesight began to fail as a result of the cancer, maybe even the medication. I had to remind her that she would still be able to hold the baby, kiss and hug the baby. I just wanted her to remain strong. I wanted her to make sure she kept eating and drinking water. I wanted her to keep fighting. I never thought she would not get the chance to meet her granddaughter. They would have loved to dance together. They would have had fun seeing who could be the most stubborn, or should I say strong-willed. They would have loved each other so much!

It wasn’t until my sisters and I were planning our Mother’s service, that I realized I did not have one picture of me (as an adult) with my mother. There were a few of me as a child and some of the whole family, but none of just me and my Mom. How could this have happened? I take pictures all the time. But that was the problem, I was always too busy behind the camera to take the time to get in front of it. How I wish I would have taken the time. I wish I had those pictures.

After realizing that I had no pictures of me and my Mom, I started understanding the importance of being in the pictures with my children. My husband would constantly try to take the camera from me, but I was more focused on getting the perfect picture of the kids, that I didn’t care to be in the picture. It has taken two years since the death of my Mother, to actually make the effort of being in a picture. Maybe it was preparing to write this blog post that made me take the first steps in preserving some memories with my children. I plan on making it a point to be in a picture with the kids, even if it’s only one, at every place we go and event we attend. Yesterday, I asked a friend to take this picture of me and the kids at the Morton Arboretum. It wasn’t difficult at all, quite painless actually.

I wish I could share my photography with my Mom. She was always my biggest fan. I know she would be proud of me and what I have accomplished and what I hope to accomplish in the future. I know she is with me, always. But just to hear her voice and her words of encouragement,  it is something I thought I would have for so many years to come. My logo is just one way that I am reminded of her love and presence in my life.

I miss my Mom.

13 thoughts on “Pictures are Priceless

  1. Michaelene Tracey April 4, 2012 / 4:17 pm

    Sharon, what a beautiful remembrance of your life with your mom. I believe she is with you and your children, and she is tremendously proud of you, your family, and your photography passion. Even though you do not have the pictures, your memories will never fade. Take care, and I hope that, in time, you will be comforted more by all that you two shared, more than the pain of what you have lost.

    • sharongaiettophotography April 5, 2012 / 2:36 am

      Thank you Michaelene. I do enjoy remembering all the great times with my Mom. I definitely smile more than I cry, when I think of her. I am blessed to have had her in my life as long as I did.

      Looking forward to seeing you and the girls in a couple weeks!

  2. Jane April 4, 2012 / 4:17 pm

    That is beautiful Sharon. You are right about so many things, but mostly about how proud she would be of you. She would be beaming, and would have every right to do so. So sorry you are hurting. I wish I could help. I am sending love and warm thoughts your way. Thank you for the wonderful tribute to your mom and for the reminder not to take one moment For granted. Miss and love you guys and hope to see you all soon! Jane

    • sharongaiettophotography April 5, 2012 / 2:46 am

      Thank you Jane, for the kind words. Today just brings me back to that moment and it is painful. However, I am quickly comforted by all the great memories I have with my Mom.

      I hope you and the family are doing well. I can’t get over how big the kids are getting. Hope to see you all very soon, too!

  3. Jaime April 4, 2012 / 4:57 pm

    I miss her too. What a great post Sharon. She is so proud of you, just like the rest of us. xoxxo

  4. Maria April 4, 2012 / 7:24 pm

    Wow. What a beautiful entry – and photo!

  5. Karen Zuver April 4, 2012 / 11:22 pm

    Sharon……….. I hope you can feel the hug in am sending to you. Everytime I see you I see the hurt you are still facing with the loss of your Mom… She was “Special” and is missed by many! That beautiful Easter morning she did not leave alone she left with the Angels and the love from each and everyone of you.. She is with you each and everyday, I see this through your pictures…. Every season, Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, Every smile of every photo she is smiling too! You all gave each and everyone of us something to hang on to too….. Everytime I see a Butterfly, it warms my heart, I know Aunt Jean is near! You are an amazing daughter, wife, mother, sister, Aunt, sister in law, niece, cousin and friend… Keep up the good work, you have been given a gift! Love You!

    • sharongaiettophotography April 5, 2012 / 2:54 am

      Thank you Karen. I felt your hug today. It has been a day of tears, but also many smiles, thinking of all the great times my family shared with our Mom. I truly appreciate everything you said, it means so much to me. I do have my days when I have my doubts on how well I am doing things. It’s during these times I miss my Mom the most. I know she is proud of me, I just wish I could her say it.

      Love you too, Karen!

  6. Kimmie April 5, 2012 / 2:59 am

    That was so unbelievably beautiful! You all have been in my thoughts all day! Your mom was amazing! She was the best Aunt EVER! You were so blessed to have a wonderful mom in your life! I know it was cut WAY too short! She loved you girls so much! Love you Sharon! Thanks for the post! It was an emotional read, and it was great! (Your pic is pretty adorable, as well!)

    • sharongaiettophotography April 5, 2012 / 3:09 am

      Thank you Kimmie. It was a sad day today, but we have been comforted by so many great memories of our Mom.

      I hope you and your growing family are all doing great! Tell Aunt June that I love her and I’m thinking of her. Love you too, Kimmie. I appreciate all the kind words.

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