Photo Gallery – 2

  • When we are giving, we are receiving.

  • This sweetheart would wear bright red lipstick so she could leave "sugar" on willing cheeks. They called her "Sugar Mama."
  • Maybelle was thrilled when saw me photographing a family in the nursing home where she lived. She said with charming confidence that she wanted “a personal photo session.” She took a moment to admire her long delicate 91 year old fingers and without looking up she said that she had never been a hand model and she wanted to take full advantage of the opportunity. I happily obliged, she was to be admitted to hospice that afternoon as she virtually stopped eating and drinking a few days prior. Maybelle was happily living in memories of the glamorous lifestyle she led back in New York. She was a professional fragrance demonstrator at Macy’s in the 1950s. She boasted about how exhausting it was, but “spritzing celebrities made it all worth it.”
  • Loving touch, it's all that is left in the end. It's all that is important right now.

  • "My mom is the brightest star in my universe." ~Jean

  • The dying will actually see their deceased parents and tell them with elation they are on their way. At this point, they are typically in a semi conscious state, within a week or two of passing. It is beautiful to witness the dying sharing their joyous visions of angels and all sorts of spiritual and religious figures commonly hovering up in the corners of their rooms. Calm words are spoken of packing, bringing the car around and going home; they get ready to hop on the train they can hear coming or they don’t want to miss the bus. Family members can be alarmed when the dying start speaking out loud to loved ones who have passed before them. Then they become ntrigued when I explain what I believe could be happening based on witnessing this near death occurrence routinely. At this point most hospice patients will be found reaching their arms up into the stillness above their bodies. When this happens I slip my hand in theirs, and a lovely contentment can follow. I wonder whose hand they are reaching for; whose hand do they think they are holding? It delights me to think that my hand could be representing the hand of God, their mother or a deceased child. Maybe their contentment comes from simply knowing that they are not alone.
  • Nancy and Marie were each near 100 years old and both sharp as a tack; both queen bees at their assisted living facility. Nancy spent most of her waking hours with her sweet sister Marie; they were goofy gals, constantly poking fun with loving banter. Nancy said goodbye to her each day, as if it was her last. Nancy returned each day relieved and delighted that Marie was still with us. Marie said goodbye to her life every night before she fell asleep. She giggled in surprise to “wake up each day still alive.”  
  • This dear Grandperson was a woman of few words, yet her hands told volumes in the way they danced in the air all around her.
  • In deep appreciation for the love that flows during these times of the unknown.

  • "I look at this photo everyday and into the night, I touch it before I go to bed. We are still a part of each other." ~Amy
  • Ray was her knight in shining armor.

  • Love like there is no tomorrow.

  • Carlie met her great grandfather for the first time to say goodbye.

  • Gerry’s stroke left her without speech or facial expression. She did have minimal use of her right arm and hand however. It took about ten slow minutes, but Gerry’s thumb inched it’s way up the bed rail until it made contact with her son’s hand. Her son knew exactly what she was trying to communicate by this simple familiar yet powerful connection. I have spent hours alone with stroke victims who are thought to be incoherent. It is terrifying to appear emotionless, but have fears and overwhelm to express. You and I communicate with body language, facial expression and speech. Many stroke victims left paralized and speechless can communicate quite well given the opportunity. A blink of an eye or tap of a finger can spell out volumes.
  • Sally had a busy ranch to run while losing the battle to an obstructive lung disease that eventually took her life (but not until she took care of all of her “business”). She had a fierce determination that no one could dampen. Short of breath, she said with a giggle, “I can’t die until all my sheep have had their babies.” I enjoyed our visits, we sat in her kitchen while her beagles Sophie and Willie Wonka howled at the golden eagles that soared just outside her kitchen window. Anna the yellow lab chimed in too. Sally was also a caregiver at a nursing facility I visited often, she cared for other people up until the last few months of her life. This determined gal juggled it all with a feisty grace. Missed terribly by many, never to be forgotten. Oh, and she was present for the birth of all of her sheep babies. She died shortly thereafter.
  • "Thank you for the lovely, absolutely touching photographs of Mom and me. I cherish them! Your photographs keep me connected to her. They are a constant visual presence of my mother who is physically gone. Her hands show the beauty of aging and the dignity and grace by which she died. Your photographs are so meaningful, I see them everyday." ~Lisa
  • Oh Ruth, what a delight to hold your hand.

  • A couple of weeks before Troy’s passing she expressed that when she was a young woman she wanted six daughters. She teared up when she said, “I found them all in my one daughter Lisa.” I am a better person and a better mother for having met these two lovely women. Such beautiful occasions come when I am acutely reminded of the magnificent purpose of mothering and the brilliant role of being a daughter.
  • Her grandpa brought her "back down to earth."

  • “I don’t want to be a burden on my family” she said in a hoarse whisper. The tumor in her throat was compromising her speech, breathing and ability to swallow; she had been given about thirty days to live. Yet, she hid her growing despair and worst pain when her family was present. I asked her to tell me about the joy of taking care of her four children during those hard economic times, sometimes working two jobs to make ends meet. She sacrificed sleep and her personal health so that they would have healthy food to eat and a safe loving place to live. She sparkled, “I wouldn’t have traded those years for anything, I love my children so much, they were an incredible joy.” I offered her the idea of letting her children have the same opportunity to receive incredible joy by allowing them to take care of her. By refusing their care, by not wanting to be a burden, she is returning a beautiful gift unopened. Because in receiving, we are giving - joy. My words made sense to her, she spent the last days of her life demonstrating to her adult children how to receive, it was a most incredible joy to witness.
  • Hands are for holding.