Portrait of Life Well Lived

Mom 21I love my mom so much it makes my heart feel like it’s going to explode. I can feel it in my chest. I feel it in my throat. I feel it in my hands and belly and spine. I know it in my eyes. I know this love in my mind and in my soul.

When I look at her — really look deeply at her — I see her for who she is and not just for who she has been for me.

Mom 5

I love to listen to her stories. I love to support her on my arm as we walk. Wrap my arm around her slender shoulders. Laugh with her. Bring her a cup of tea. Cover her with an extra blanket. Open the car door for her. Share our tears. Share chocolate. Watch her when she doesn’t know I am looking. Wash her hair in the kitchen sink. Cook for her.

I love knowing in the night, that she is snoring gently in a room just a few feet from mine … love knowing she loves me, because when I thanked her for letting me take these portraits of her, and for spending these almost-3-weeks with me, she hugged me and cried. We both cried.

Mom 16

Mom is 82. I feel more deeply connected to her now that I am an adult, than I remember ever feeling as a child. That is not to say I wasn’t close to Mom when I was little — maybe depth of relationship comes with the compression of time, with the way age matters less and less as we grow older. The difference between 80 and 60 is less than between 25 years old and 5.

Mom 9

Today I watched her through my lens. She knew I was looking. She knew my camera would capture every wrinkle and blemish, yet she relaxed and let me pursue something I have wanted for a long time … to capture the elusive portrait of someone who is part of me. Who is so deeply connected to me that when the time comes to let her go it will be the hardest thing I will ever do.

Mom 12

Mom 7 Mom 6

Maybe depth of relationship comes with changes inside me. Changes in that place of rebellion that still burns like a stubborn ember of fire. When I look in the mirror nowadays, I see my facial features softening, melting a little. I look like my mother. I am becoming a beautiful crone. A wise woman. Like her. When I see her through my camera viewfinder, I see myself in 20-some years. And I hope with all my heart, that I am as good and kind and loving a human being as my mom is.

A few more from our photo shoot today:

21 Replies to “Portrait of Life Well Lived”

  1. Wow Maureen… this one’s got me weeping about my own mom. Glad I’m seeing her this week. Glad you’ve had this time with yours.

  2. Lezley, thanks. I’m glad I made you weep. In a good way I’m sure. And that you get to hang out with *your* mom this week. Get some good pics.

  3. This is lovely and touching Maureen. What a gift to yourself and others. I wish I had been able to spend such a time with my mother…may she rest in peace.

  4. Thanks for putting this here for everyone to read, your words and pictures are beautiful Maureen. I am very proud to have you as a sister! You can capture the feelings and emotions into words like no one else I know.

  5. Amanda, I wish you had been able to. Do you still have photos of her? I know you’re a good photographer. I encourage you to write about her, if you haven’t already. Thanks for commenting. really truly. I miss you, and wish we lived closer together.

  6. What a privilege to have such a great relationship. Your tribute makes me catch my breath. Thanks for sharing this beautiful woman and yourself with the rest of us.

  7. Maureen, this is really beautiful and so tender…I can only hope that my sons will feel this way when we reach this stage in life. You are a beautiful crone, and very wise.

  8. Me too. I hope my sons feel this way now, but especially when I’m 82. Hopefully I’ll be good for the next 20+ years. 😉

  9. What a lovely group of people. You all make me feel so special. Thanks tons!

  10. Oh Maureen, this brought tears to my eyes as I feel like you were describing my Mom & I through your heart words about you & your Mom. I relate deeply to what you’ve shared xox <3

  11. I love the pictures and stories with your mom, Maureen! She is such a lovely, warm and insightful soul. Your photos really touched me here <3

  12. Thanks, Jaime. She liked meeting you and getting to know you and the girls a little, because I talk about you all the time. Now she has a face and personality to put with my stories about you, Ema and Adia. 🙂

  13. Hi Maureen – Such special moments captured in time through your lovely words and portraits of Pat. She is an inspiration (give her a hug from me)!!! Love Janet

  14. Maureen – Your words are poetry to accompany the love in the photo images. Absolutely beautiful…from your heart through the lens to all the world. Thank you!

  15. Mo-
    A beautiful , heartfelt, expressive piece of art work. Thank you for sharing it.
    I cherish you and your mom expressions and memories.

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