We all deserve the occasional pity party…{Minneapolis Children’s Photographer}

It was August 12, 2004, and it was to be the first day of our annual family Boundary Waters Canoe trip. Instead of heading north however, I was speaking in front of 700 people at my mom’s funeral. Instead of paddling on the clean water dreaming about smores over the campfire, I was kissing my mom goodbye in the pine coffin we made for her. Life changed.

How could it not.
So last weekend I decided to go back to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area for the first time since her sudden death four years ago. It was only the second time in my life that I ventured there without her. Without her enthusiasm in meal and trip planning. Without her excitement about the adventures we will have. Without waking up to her reading her bible on some rock overlooking the water. Without her singing songs in the canoe as she paddled. Without her. Without my mom, my dear friend, forever.
My husband and I went. And I had a big pity party. I cried. And cried. And I tried bargaining with God…again. And my wonderful husband let me work through it. And then I felt lighter. And then I felt better. And then I had a great trip.
And next time will be easier. Or maybe it won’t. But that’s ok too. Anyone who is living through grief understands.
Fortunately I inherited my mom’s insane optimism. I am told that the sparkle in my eyes has returned and I am able to feel real joy over God’s many blessings. I still look forward to tomorrow and clap when I am happy and want to believe the best will always come. And it will.
I hesitated writing about this here. It is tempting to use the “happy photographer thoughts” filter and not mention anything else. But then that does not feel real. It does not feel like the open book that I tend to be.
And to be honest, these real life times make me a better photographer. They make me know how precious today is and want to capture it all the more. My photographs of my mom are the most precious physical things I have from her life. They are what I treasure the most.

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