Opening up about my personal life online is something I struggle with – I seldom update my Facebook status, I can’t remember the last time I tweeted (twote?) and the closest I come to sharing my life with complete strangers is my Instagram account (which I am also super nervous about and try keep it as restricted as possible!)
However, many of my clients are privy to various facets of my personal life. I have such strong connections with so many of my clients that I call a lot of them friends.
Today, I wanted to share something a bit more personal on the blog.
Towards the end of last year, my dad passed away from cancer. His death was a peaceful one at home where he was surrounded by his immediate family. I miss him every day and look for every opportunity to mention him or talk about him!
That wasn’t the only knock our family has taken. Barely two months after his passing, my mom fell ill. Two months after that, she was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
The last year has been tough. On all of us, but on my mother especially. She went from being a caregiver, to a widow, to fighting for her life. I would have thought that having being through this once so recently, we would be better prepared as a family on knowing how to handle this, how to cope with it. We really haven’t been – nothing ever really prepares you for having to say goodbye a million different ways every day but still getting into bed at night and praying for a better day, for better news, tomorrow. Still though, we’re hopeful and try to stay positive as much as possible!
Being a photographer, I am always telling my clients how important photos are. Capturing that moment in time – essentially making the memory of someone timeless. Sounds cliched? Still, it’s true. We had virtually no photos of my dad and I have only three of him and my daughter together. I wish I had been more proactive and vigilant in taking photos of him. But I wasn’t and I am not making the same mistake with my mom!
As much as I wanted the memories of this time of us all together, I also wanted my mom to see herself the way I see her – elegant and beautiful. I know she loathes her body as she is fighting against it right now – she feels her body has failed her. But all I see when I look at her is a strong woman. She bore three children; she devoted her every moment to making sure we were clean, healthy and felt loved. When I hold her hand, I see hands that worked for over two decades, brushing hair and feeling warm foreheads, making food and changing wet sheets in the middle of the night. When we’re sitting outside chatting, I see a woman who takes pleasure in small things; the feel of warm sunshine on her face and the taste of a well made cup of tea. When I look at my mom, I see a woman who deserves to be loved much more than we could all possibly love her – and we love her so much! She is an incredible woman and I hope I can be half mother she was to me growing up.
I wanted a formal, Victorian-esque style photo shoot with my family. The serious faces, dramatic mood and lighting – these are the images I had in mind when we all got together for a mini photo shoot. We will still do a fun, outdoors photo shoot (because outdoors, sunfilled photos is what I do best!) and I will share those too when we do it
Of course, there were some funny outtakes – a couple of them are at the end of this post!
My mom and daughter – this is going up huge in our lounge!
My kiddo has her “serious face” nailed!
Whenever someone tells me I look just like my mom, I feel so flattered!
The three of us got matching tattoos – it was custom designed for us with a lot of symbolism, including the cancer ribbon, my mom’s love of cats and my dad’s love of aviation. We headed over the super talented Warren at Little Shop of Horrors (check them out if you’re thinking of getting a tattoo in Johannesburg, I cannot recommend them enough!)
Of course, we had to get a smiling one!
My beautiful mom.
A couple of fun outtakes!
If you got this far – thanks for reading! If you want to follow part of our journey, you can follow my Instagram account HERE.
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