the just-the-right-kind of public affection...

* c+c in pennsylvania back in october.



There is something that I have not yet addressed on this blog.  Addressing this topic has come, still comes, with much anticipation.  However, I believe now is the time…

Hmmm, how does one write this sort of thing…

How does one start this…

... I don't want to write a eulogy.

I don't want to post photos of Her or Her and I together…

Well, I left and came back to the laptop for a few moments and the best idea I have is to share the photographs that I took, in her garden, of the floral arrangements I made for her memorial.

Yes, I like this idea.

Sounds like sigur ros agrees too… {actually, maybe before reading on you should put some sigur ros on to play in the background…}

You see, she died on thursday, june 26th.

That day was the most horrific day of my life.

And that, that is all I will say about that.

We wanted to celebrate her life through a memorialization to be held a few weeks later.  In the interim of that time passing, I came into possession, rather purposefully, if you get my drift {'meant-to-be' if you will} of a hasselblad 501.  I'd wanted one of my own for a very long time, and that long time finally came to an end.

The first, and until last week in sweden, only rolls I've shot on it were the photographs that I took, in her garden, of the floral arrangements I made for her memorial.

The memorial day too was, how should I say, well, I don't honestly think I can say how it was for me in a very concise way.  Rather, maybe I don't want to admit how that was for me.

So, I will not try, other then that day was very, very bizarre.  It did not feel real.  It was so odd.  Everything about it was odd.  And while I know much of that day was as right as it could be, it still all felt wrong.

Ridiculously wrong in a maddening way.

The photographs in this post were taken the day after the memorial.

The day after the second most hard day of my life.

9 months.

The same amount of time it takes to create, and bring into the world, a life… that's how long we had with her.  From diagnosis to the final, haunting silence.

9. months.

As difficult as those nine months were, caring for her, observing destruction, the inexplicable adaptations to life no one can ever really be prepared for… she was still there. Her hands were there… to hold, to caress, to run through my hair, to be held in my own…

Her hands were still there.

Fingers bearing that one, gold band, her hands were still there.

And now, now they are not.

Now, my fingers bear that one, gold band.

Now, everything is hard.

If it was hard before, it is harder now.

Now, I can not send her a text message.

Now, I can't sit in the sun with her. Or drink tea with her. Or laugh with her. Or cry with her.

Now, I see her name on my 'favorites' page in my phonebook on my iphone and now, now I can't look forward to 'ma mere' calling or messaging me.

Now, I just miss her oh so much.

In every way believable, I miss her.

The road from thursday, june 26th to now has been, well, three distinct descriptions come to mind: enlightening, challenging, horrifying.

Enlightening: I officially know who I am.  Very clearly.  I know what has made me, what makes me and what will continue to form me.  For the facets of factors that will war against me, I am trying to prepare and battle those the best I can.  For the facets of factors that I would like to have more of, well, I'm striving to coddle as many genuine, good things into my life that I can.  I do consider this bit of seeming enlightenment a privilege.  A curse, and a privilege.  I've seen the power of the human body on multiple facets.  Personal power and the power of others, both in positive and negative forms.  All of it, it is enlightening.

Challenging and horrifying: I'll admit, I have been diagnosed with severe post traumatic stress disorder.  I see two therapists.  I have full flashbacks, I have nightmares, I have anxiety attacks, I've had I think it's at four panic attacks.  I have insomnia.  And as the season changes I've found myself reliving moment for moment these similar days I had with her at this same time last year.  This time last year she was losing her hair.  I have paranoia.  I startle at an embarrassing rate.  I often have a skewed sense of taste.  I now have an inability to concentrate at an alarming rate.  My patience feels nearly vanished.  My temper flares.  And I shake.  I shake a lot.  And I am battling depression.  I think of my dad nearly as much as I think of her.  I can not yet replace the bad memories with the good.

This part of this journey... this part that nobody tells you about, the part when they are gone and you are left without them... and what you are left with is utterly baleful...

this part is crazy.

The human body is clearly not meant to experience pain and death or the effects of such.

I can not honestly put into words, now and perhaps maybe ever, the experiences my father and I went through, especially as june 26th drew close.  What my husband… what my own husband experienced with and for a life that was ending.

A life so close.

A life that we loved so much.

A life that as it waned away in ways that we had no inkling of an idea what to do, we just tried.  And prayed.  And tried harder.  Until none of us had to try anymore.

Except for now.  Now there is even more trying.  And this is the trying... this is the trying that is so ghastly that nobody tells you about this part of the process because. they. can't.  There is no fair warning in any of this, but especially this.

No. fair. warning.

Some days I am really marvelous. Some days I am great.  Some days I am okay or alright.  Some days I am neutral.  Some days I am not well.  Some days I am horrid.  The horrid days are terrifying.

Getting help has been a chore, to be frank.

I am, as I've learned, completely 50/50 intro/extravert.  And, a perfectionist.  I set my expectations way too high, in all things.  I am now working on this.  Asking for help, in those/these circumstances, I didn't know how, and it was, and it is, embarrassing.  Crying… it's embarrassing. every. time. And sometimes, I cry a lot.  I am sad inside, a lot.

Not hating others for their joy; their new marriages, their babies, their lovely life progressions… well not hating others is a truly an ugly beast that honestly, and sometimes regularly, rears it's head.  Nobody warns you that you will have to fight becoming a jealous and bitter person because you want so bad everyone else's 'normal' lives.

I've had a few abundantly galling times since june 26th.  The past month has presented itself with a rather large amount of these times, and this has caught me off guard.  Very off guard.

What now?

I am learning to truly rely on friends and family.  Words I think of constantly like "it's okay to struggle" have been, I swear, life-saving.  Or the first time my one friend said "let's celebrate this moment" to something that I considered so minuscule and unimportant.  Now, my friend has said those four words many, many times to me, and each time they feel as sweet as the feeling of Her fingers stroking my head as I lay in her lap.  I remember very vividly the last two times She did that.

Oh, and "be patient with yourself".  That's a good one too.

I try.

Yes, I am back to trying.  We all are.  We have to.

I trust that I will not be allowed to experience more then what He knows I can bare.  I have learned to pray specifically for those fellow sweet sisters of mine around the world that have likewise taken care of, and said adieu to their own beautiful mothers too.  I am not the only one.  Neither are they.  I know He helps us feel each other's pain and too, comfort.

I see an herbalist which is of great benefit.  I run.  Sometimes I run a lot.  I work out more now.  I have learned to eat in a more balanced way, especially after learning to cook for Her.  I will say, I learned some pretty delicious recipes cooking for her.  One friend shared the homeliest of chicken pot-pie recipes.  Oh it is so good and so home and it just wraps you up in goodness inside and out!  Another, another shared a chicken curry recipe that was great for days where we all were feeling a little saucy.

I've thought about writing a book of helpful advice I received, experiences, quotes, recipes, anecdotes, photographs from the past year and all of 'this'.

I used instagram as a means of using a little bit of iphone photography to document the journey honestly and accurately and realistically.  Doing this helped me journal my experiences, both with her and personally for myself.  It helped me see light at very dark times.  It helped me slow down.  It helped me stay connected.  And as a person that has a hard time staying connected, well, I was and am thankful for it's ability to inform in an unobtrusive way.

I keep trying.

I listen.  More-so then I ever have, I listen.

I am quieter.

I value the sunshine in a way I never have or probably would have before.

I take greater solace then I knew existed in traveling and making new memories in new places that I can not associate with her.  That sounds so rude to type out, but it's the honest truth.  Perhaps a bit harsh, but the truth.

I love the soil and the ground and plants and flowers more then I ever expected.  Garden therapy became such a healing process for me and my hand and my mind and my heart.  I can see now why she loved it so.

I planted a small container garden when she got her sickest.

I remember when she could no longer respond… and conversation at times felt so awkward and unbecoming, I would always revert to talking about the garden.  Her garden, my garden, the neighbors garden, gardens near our home, central park…

Even at the very end, when the smallest of movements or sounds or recognitions or expressions were made...

our last conversation was about flowers.  About the garden.

Actually, as I sit here thinking about that conversation, I believe it was about the garden we will later have again together...


I still remember the last real 'I love you' we exchanged.

I remember every bit.

I see it, even still.

I close my eyes, and I see it.

How funny, today was the first time, just now, that I closed my eyes and was comforted by this scene.  Until now the thought of that memory would make me mad and I would push it out.

Nobody should push out the 'I love yous'.

The 'I love yous' are the best part.


My small container garden went surprisingly splendidly.  Even after long, trying days of taking care of her, coming home and having my faith reassured of how vibrant and gorgeous life is meant to be… well those little green sprouts of tiny stems and leaves made me feel joy and pleasure in the way I think joy and pleasure are truly meant to be felt.  Maybe I would have never learned that if I hadn't had to do all of… this...

One more reason things are especially harder right now, frost and coldness came last week.  And now my container garden is nearly no more...


And I try to talk about all of this… whatever you want to call 'this'… … … experience?

As long as the imperfect human body is in existence on this imperfect earth, this experience will continue to transfer itself amongst all of us.

But we will not be alone.

In so many facets, we will not be alone.

I never, never, never thought this would happen to me, to our family.

Accidents… accidents I understand, or rather, accidents you have an understanding that they could happen randomly and suddenly and unexpected and from factors, factors sometimes utterly ridiculous, in play from an imperfect environment.

For some odd reason I suppose I just never anticipated that my mother, my mother, would be diagnosed and soon thereafter no longer be living, because of cancer.  I just never thought that that would honestly happen.   Wow, I've never let myself say that before.


Why am I sharing any of this?

Because I need to.

For me.

And for you.

In all of this, I exhausted and yet still exhaust myself attempting to find positives, one of the ones that stands clearly in the forefront is:

I can feel more then I ever thought was possible.

In love and in laughter.

In spirit and body.

In mind and soul.

I can feel.

And I can create.  Create differently then ever before.  And now I respect my creating because I know it's real.  Even if I have to do it less.  Even if it comes in a variety of forms that requires learning and changing and adapting.  Even if it comes not in photography necessarily. I know that what I am creating is real.  And it has the true me.

And the true me has a lot of Her.

So, here is to Her.

What was.

What will be.


here is to us.

All of us.

Because we all need each other.


let's be some of the beauty that she was.


Here is to Her.

* photographed on fujichrome provia 400



It was time to return.

And it was time to reappear.

And so I did.

And I am back.

And I am ready...

*above image of m+j enjoying a few moments in central park during their engagement session last month.



"The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God.  Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simply beauty of nature.  As long as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be.  And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles."
Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl

*above image from our stay in latvia last summer.  this exact time last summer we were in that beautiful country and I miss it so.  ironically, I just discovered that the angelic, white blossoming tree in our home garden is mock orange; the same flooded the gardens in latvia and is pictured above.  anne's words above resonate deeply within right now, and the comfort of revisiting the chillingly passionate scent that is mock orange, has me consoled in a way I really almost can't explain.  I will share the following however, nature has indeed brought a solace in troubles that have been nearly unendurable.  While my mother's body wanes itself closer and closer to it's final rest, the chiming chirps, the rhythmic tango of long, early summer shadows, the temper of dusk, and the dawn over the apples trees that now have these tiny little apples that are sweetened if even just a little with each sun's rising… they all offer these kind kisses that calm in a way nothing and no one else can.  and with that, I know in certainty that "there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be." 



7 links:
(because 3 is too little, 5 is too neat and 10 is too many)

1.  Fieldwork Flowers. ooh. la. la.

2.  Are you someone who battles with anxiety?  I've battled with it since I was very small, and now in the midst of life trials I've started with full panic attacks.  Besides the mental and emotional helplessness that accompanies anxiety and panic attacks, I started experiencing the associated back pain that can be debilitating.  This article was of so, so, so much help + the questionnaire was very interesting to do.

3.  Also an interesting article on stress.  (No duh, we all need to slow down, but I liked the simple explanations for common stress symptoms.)

4.  One of my best gal pals is now working with Molly of Molly Moon's ice cream.  Have you ever checked out their website and blog?  They are really up to great, great stuff besides just their locally sourced ingredients and delectable ice cream!

5.  Sharing Cultural Jewels via Instagram.  Wow, Instagram is truly such a 'thing' now.

6.  This haircut I do not think I could pull off.  The outfit however, yes.  Yes, please.

7.  This recipe.

*above image photographed in brooklyn a few years ago; local nectarines purchased at the union square green market.



An oldie but a goodie, 
please revisit with me the very, very lovely hannah+nick...

- they wed on the family farm out near mt. rainier which was so beautiful and perfectly simple and genuine.
- instead of cake (not cake people, which is becoming more and more common!) they had a cookie that they shared and dipped in milk.
- they entertained me (and the time it takes) while shooting film.
- nick & co. went played a friendly game of football... AFTER all the important events were concluded.
- the weather was completely bipolar; sunny then cloudy then POOF! as you'll see, a very stunning sunset.