Recently I was presented with the challenge of selecting my absolute favorite photograph ever taken. Mind you, that is out of thousands. However, I found it to be an easy choice. For me the photo does not have to be perfectly composed, or even perfectly focused; but it absolutely must be from the heart. By far the most cherished photo that I have ever taken is this one of Mama. It was taken two days before Mom’s passing and during my brother’s wedding.
Originally, my brother and his sweet fiancee were to be married on my parent’s 50th Wedding Anniversary at our ranch house with both families present. So many plans had been made, flights had been purchased, hotels reserved, and catering set. However, things drastically changed when Mama’s health faltered and she was placed in hospice just days prior to that. Knowing how much she wanted to witness the marriage ceremony and their desire to have her present, my brother and his fiancee decided to change the venue. In less than two days, all family members altered their flights, plans, and prior arrangements to attend the wedding of this selfless and loving couple. Amazingly enough, every family member was able to make arrangements to attend. The hospice facility staff was beside themselves with assisting in the preparation since this was the first and only wedding they had ever had in their facility. They were as excited as we all were. They too, had grown to love Mom instantly, as so many did.
During the days in hospice, Mama seemed to be fading with moments of her true spirit shining through, allowing times of true joy for all of us. She slept a lot and couldn’t seem to focus very clearly; but we all knew she was alert enough to know that a wedding was going to take place. On November 19th, with my father officiating and my mother looking on from her hospital bed, two of the most amazing people on this planet were joined in matrimony. That day, the day of this photo, was Mama’s most coherent day. It was as if the sickness had left her body to allow her complete delight. She was laughing, hugging, talking, and blowing kisses to us all. It was during this time that I turned the lens on her and captured the purest moment of clarity and happiness in Mama that day. She passed away two days later and just two days shy of their 50th Wedding Anniversary.
It has now been exactly seven months to the date since her passing and posting this photo brings the same raw emotion as it did the day I peered through the eyepiece and captured her true essence. For me personally, the photos which evoke the most emotion are the dearest in our hearts. This photo of Mama is by far my most emotionally charged and favored photograph ever. It manages to grasp onto those ultimate moments of beautiful clarity and the memories of those final days spent with my dearest, sweet Mama.