Enjoy Writing | My Mama Bear

"i wish nothing but the best for you."

Two years ago I wrote this post for a Breast Cancer Fundraiser:

"One a foggy nearly winter morning in 2003, my parents gathered all of their children in the family room and told us they had something to tell us.  

Mom had breast cancer.   

That conversation started an unforgettable and life-changing year for me.  That night I practically bled tears as I laid in bed, trying to sleep and eventually I snuck into my mom's room and slept next to her bed on the floor.  I was scared.  But there is nothing like being loved by your church, neighborhood and even complete strangers.  By the help of literally hundreds, my dad, my six younger siblings and I were fed, carpooled, hosted, given clean clothes, had Christmas gifts wrapped, and adventures had while my mother battled cancer.   What a fighter.  Watching her faith gave me faith.  She was peaceful, hopeful and strong.  She made us laugh when she lost her hair (hardest moment of my life when I came home from school and saw her bald, sleeping head) by buying and wearing a colorful clown wig.  She never let us worry.  She lived out her marvelous hope in God.
But I think the hardest part for her wasn't the chemo, or the surgeries, or the recovery, or the steroids… it was missing our lives.  At the time she had a one-year-old, two-year-old and four-year-old who she couldn't snuggle with at night.  That killed her.  Her babies were growing up and they had to spend most their time with someone else.  And that's when I first got serious about photography.  I took pictures of those kids so she could remember them during that year.  Rolls and rolls and rolls of film simply telling of the story of little Michael, Shannon and Lauren.   All of the wonderful women who came to help us always let me show them my "favorite" pictures and they were oh-so encouraging and supportive.  And one dear girl offered to let me shoot at her wedding that upcoming summer.  And that's how it allllll began.   
My photography business is so closely tied to my mom's breast cancer." <-- This original post I wrote ended with the following lines: "Mom is thankfully in remission and is as healthy as a peach.  Praise God!  But I wanted to be a part of this fundraiser for any daughter who ever has or ever will watch their mom experience cancer.  As hard as it is, there is so much hope.  And God can do unimaginably wonderful things through such trying times. " 

Today, however, a few of those lines are no longer true.  It has not changed that there IS hope.  God still does unimaginably wonderful (and even beautiful) things through hard times.  But, as much as it completely stinks to say it, mom is no longer in remission or "as healthy as a peach."  The last few days have revealed that her shortness of breath the last few months were caused by a collapsed lung, and her lung was collapsed because of cancer on it.  
I believe in a Miracle Worker, a Healer, a Sustainer, an All-Powerful Creator, a Tender Father, a Good King, a Sweet Shepard, a Friend Who Weeps, and a Warrior Who Fights for His people, and He lives in His Heavenly Home, which just so happens to be my home, too, thanks to His personal invitation and love for me.  He is all I need, and all my mother needs, and all we all need.  But, He Himself has wept with grief, because sometimes life does just hurt. 
 I'll be here in Florida somewhat indefinitely to help take care of my mama bear.  I brought her some ballin' pink and blue monster-face socks. I knoooow, I knoooow, I'm a really great daughter ;)  I don't want to turn this blog a sob-story or whine-fest... but, this is about my life and there is much about my life as creative artist/photographer directly linked my mom.  And mostly I just love her with all my heart, and it's hard not to write about what your heart loves the most.  Prayers would be most appreciated, for my dad who is a sleepless Mr. Mom these days, Mama Bear and her lung (no more collapsing, please!), all seven of us kids... especially the little guys (they are too young to remember going through this the first time and it's still a bit overwhelming) and for the medical staff (may they be smart, kind and maybe even funny! We all dearly love to laugh!) You better believe I'm completely enjoying every and any little thing that finds itself in our day: the little old man with the deep accent where I bought a salad, laughing at Mad About You on my laptop together, giving and getting back scratches, reading the homemade cards from the little kids, coughs (coughing is a good sign, the Doc says, so we want lots and lots of coughs!), the Florida sunset through the hospital room window, making fun of mom's sweet but slightly dumb nurses ("I mean, I'd love to have her over our to our house for dinner!  She just forgot to bring my medicine for the third time."), worship music on in the background and just alone time with my mom.  Thanks for listening!