Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Pictures of my Mother: the final months

Mom, September 2012
Ever since my mother fell last May and entered the final phase of her life, the rapid decline that ultimately brought about her recent end, I have taken pictures of her nearly every time I have visited.

There was that constant feeling of "Maybe this is the last time..." and I wanted to document her final months, wanted to capture what was fleeting, what I knew would soon be gone.

I always had my phone with me, outfitted with intstagram, a documentary minded person's perfect tool these days. And thus I snapped away.

I captured her in her many moods: happy, sad, contemplative, playful, lost, loving, sleepy - often sleepy. But always beautiful. And always her own unique self, an iconoclast, not just another garden-variety old lady, for sure.

The folks who worked in the nursing home grew to love my mother, were deeply grieved to hear she was gone. "She was one of a kind" they said, and it's true.

Mom, September
Out for a drive, October, 2012

This weekend it was very hard for me to look at pictures of my mother. They made me so sad. I kept thinking: "This is it. There will be no more photos" and, even, harder, "I will never see her again, except in these pictures and memory."

Mom, September 14th, 2012
But I wanted to finish this post, share these pictures of the last months of my mother's life. So I pushed past the wall of pain, late, middle of the night while the boys were sleeping so they wouldn't see me crying.

Mom in the hospital, June 2012
November, 2012
Mom on her 90th birthday, September, 2012
Fallen, August 2012
July, 2012

Telling mom not to pick the flowers just made her want to pick the more. She always loved to nick bits of plants - from woods, parks, neighbors, garden stores, botanical gardens - and bring them home to root and grow. She had a wonderful green thumb and nurturing living things made her happy.

July, 2012

Mom, Thanksgiving 2012

Even in pain, she always looked at me with such love, so much adoring in her eyes. No matter how terribly her mind was dissolving away, of this she was rock solid sure: we loved each other.

Mom, June 2012
This is the last picture I took of my mother, alive, the day before she died:

Mom, January 16th, 2013
She wouldn't open her eyes that day, or the next (her last).  She was becoming very sleepy; already starting to drift away, I believe.

Mom, January 3, 2013
But I'd rather remember her like this, the sparkle of love in her eyes, smiling for the camera, for me.


  1. What a beautiful woman. So thankful that you had the relationship with her that you had. Praying for comfort for you as you grieve.

  2. Each picture is different, but the smile and the eyes each look the same - filled with love.

  3. She has such a beautiful smile. Your love for her is such a wonderful testament to your relationship. You two were lucky to have each other.

  4. This is so beautiful. Your love for her is so beautiful. Wishing you strength, peace, and comfort in knowing that she will always live within you.

  5. I can only imagine just how loved you made her feel, when you pointed the camera at her and told her, You're still so beautiful, mom.


  6. Oh, my goodness. What a gorgeous glow to her, and what grace.

    This is a lovely post. I'm glad you shared these images here.

  7. 90 years of age. What a wonderfully long life she had. The pictures are beautiful. You can't touch her now but she still lives in your heart. xx

  8. Tears are streaming down my face. I'm so glad you finished this post and published it. Your mother was beautiful. There was a depth in her eyes and the love for you, behind the camera, is apparent in the photos.

  9. A beautiful loving tribute. Sometimes words are not needed. xxooxx

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  11. I am so sorry for your loss. It is heartbreaking to look at the pictures. Your Mom was so expressive and was obviously a sweetheart. Take good care of yourself at this difficult time.

  12. oh my, she is beautiful. The picture on her last day... just made me bust out in tears. I hate that it ends like this...

    She looks like she had a happy life, full of love. Im glad you are honoring her in this way. in talking about her, sharing her with all of us, you keep her heart and spirit alive.

  13. What a beautiful woman inside and out! I am so sorry for your loss. I've been MIA recently but I followed your journey as your moms health declined. From where I sit it looks like you inherited her spunk.


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