Her spirit was with me. {Minneapolis Children’s Photographer}

I thought of her with every blueberry I picked. Every sound of the loons talking back and forth. She was with me as I hiked the portages with a heavy pack on my back. As I enjoyed s’mores every night. And at every campsite, as I found perfect rocks for her to sit on and read her Bible, she was with me. Yes, on our trip to the Boundary Waters this year she was in my heart – deeply.

Time helps our wounds. Last year on our annual Boundary Waters trip I had a big pity party (see post here). It was my first trip there since my mom’s sudden death exactly four years before. This year I was better able to just think of her. Better able to remember my mom whom I loved and miss dearly. Her heart was always up in those wonderful woods where we grew up camping. Oh, how she delighted in our annual trips there. And what a blessing it was for me to feel her there this year rather than just feel the pain in my missing.

Of course I still felt the pain. I cried for one entire 260-rod portage just wishing I could have one more day with her. I bargained with God to please give me that one day. To play a game of cards. To be able to ask her for parenting advice. To let my kids meet her. To hear her call me sweetheart one more time. Oh, how I begged God for this. I know it wasn’t logical. But grief never is.

I am crying now just thinking about that bargaining portage. It was so intense and the pain is still raw to me now.

And as I have said before, I know that that pain is one of the things that makes me a better photographer. The deep pain of losing someone you love helps you to appreciate what you still have. It has helped me understand the value in my relationships. I see them as treasures and I feel the same way about my clients’ relationships with each other. I work so hard to capture the true funny faces of a child, or to get the look of a dad on his daughter’s wedding day. To get that kid to give me a big belly laugh for the camera, or to capture a tender moment between mother and child. To have the mom of a high school senior to see an image of their almost-grown child, and feel without a doubt, that they are seeing into their heart.

And just now as I sat here with tears in my eyes while I was finishing this post, my little Bella just came into my office asking if I would do a puzzle with her. Time to go treasure what I still have.

{I wrote this post when I first returned, and was waiting to publish it until I could include an image of my mom and I. Well, I am not a scanning expert, so all I have electronically is a very poor quality image to include. Rather than hold up any more posts waiting for a great image, I am just posting this one knowing that you will see the importance of the meaning and ignore the terrible scan quality!}


  • September 1, 2009 - 5:25 pm

    Arielle Langhorne - Oh Jessie! I hurt for you. I can’t even think of the day I won’t have my mom to talk to on the phone. Like you said, time heals but I’m sure the void is always there. Glad you had a nice vacation and are keeping with the tradition of the camping with your children, creating strong and powerful memories for them too.

  • September 2, 2009 - 12:20 am

    Danyel - What a beautiful and precious picture. The tears are felt over here. You have been blessed with a gift for capturing moments, both in photos, and in your words. You have such a beautiful heart. Your mom beams over you every day I bet.

  • September 3, 2009 - 1:57 pm

    Pamela Anderson - Jessie:
    Not only do you have the gift of being such a awesome photographer, you also have a way with words. Your Mom was lucky to have you for a daughter and it appears like you were blessed with her to. I have no doubt that she is smiling down at you right now, enjoying seeing you do that puzzle with Bella. Thanks for the day you spent with us taking Amanda’s pictures and I can’t wait to see them!
    God’s blessings to your family and you!

  • September 25, 2009 - 10:12 am

    Julie - I know I already commented on your most recent (bunny) post, but I just had to tell you, “Thanks for the cry.” ; )
    I’m sorry for your loss.

  • May 15, 2010 - 11:09 am

    Frances - Jessie – I must have missed this blog last fall…I am soooo sorry I did..(probably during the time I was wallowing in my own pain from the loss of my mother in August…..)

    Your comments AND the photo are stunning…..in that photo I do not see poor scan quality at ALL. I see a mother daughter bond that can NEVER be broken. I see a friendship like no other. I see a peaceful, amazing setting for these two people sharing time together. I see a relationship that many hope for, but few acheive. Please cherish this photo….not for its technical flaws….but for the love is radiates!

    You are an amazing individual, and I am SOOOO glad that Maggie brought you into our family’s life…. :)

  • January 13, 2011 - 8:59 pm

    Joyful Journey: Strawberry Pies » Joyful Girl Photography Blog - […] I requested. She made me feel so special and loved, and since her sudden death 6 1/2 years ago (post), birthdays have just not been the […]

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