Recently, a loved one passed. It was a heartbreaking moment. The shock of it all, but mostly, how quickly it all went down. A hospital visit turned into the last stop and no one really understood how it all happened so fast. Years of treatment, building strength week after week, and day by day, and no one even gave a thought as to the inevitable. The time came when we sorted through boxes and shopping bags of photos. We were hard pressed to find one of her alone. We scrolled through countless images of dancing with her son, wedding parties, dinner parties at home; always smiling, always in a group, always embraced by someone. She was radiant and dressed to the nines at every occasion. Her subtle glamour graced every single image and as I flipped one after the other, all I could think about was how much I wished I had captured her with her family at least once. We had a successful shoot on the beach, but she declined to join. Tired and hairless from chemo, she thought she was not beautiful enough. No matter how many times I asked, and boy, I asked, I was politely declined. The Glamazon didn't feel glamourous. If only she knew what I saw; her hand movements her speech, her complete essence was naturally Regal. Nothing I can do; she felt how she felt and that was it.
Once, during a Facetime call, she was giddy and felt vibrant, however brief, She was teaching me how to count in french, while her son was tickling her and nuzzling her neck, babying her as she smacked and pushed him away. All with a big ol grin on her face. She pretended she was tough and would shoo him away, but he would come back and do it all over again, because of that grin. I felt the love she had for her boy through the screen as if it somehow grabbed hold of my eyeballs. I couldn't look away and I instead snapped away. She was bald, no wig, no makeup, shining with love-her son right next to her, lovingly nudging her. My eye welled with tears as I sent him the screenshots.
We finally found an image we decided to enlarge for her services. It was of her and her two children, already adults taken a few years back. I was commissioned to clean it up and enlarge it, so I edited everyone out, zoomed in on her and touched it up a little. There was a hand on her shoulder that I decided to leave. She was always surrounded by those that loved her and embraced her. As I work on the image, he scrolls through his iPhone of images and videos of her, happened upon my screenshots and wept as he told me about that night with his mama. How much fun they had together and how much he loved that screen capture. I love it too. He thanked me.