Hey friends, fans, followers, colleagues. I know y’all thought I fell of the face of the planet, but I promise I’m still here. In early August I flew to NYC to teach the inaugural Passport workshop with my colleague J. Nichole Smith. When the workshop ended on August 9th, I had planned to spend 5 days in NYC exploring the city and relaxing. But sadly as many of you already know, that wasn’t exactly how it happened.
Without going into the details of the 3 days I was in NY following the workshop, I found out on August 12th that my mom had died on the 10th, at the age of 66, after taking her own life. It was, as you can imagine, the most devastating thing I’ve ever had to go through, and I expect, will ever go through. I was in a city where I knew no-one and was heartbroken, alone, in despair and completely, totally broken.
To make a long story short, thanks to my dad taking control, I got an early flight home on Friday the 13th, and have spent the last 4 weeks trying to put the emotional pieces of my life back together. I’m just slowly returning to work this week, and expect to be moving back into work slowly over time. I still have my email autoreplies set up, and will take them down when I feel like I’m ready to be fully back into work, which I expect won’t be until the beginning of October. I’m incredibly lucky that I have a business that allows me flexibility in my schedule and when I work. I read online that the average time off for bereavement is 3 days, which I find appalling beyond any explanation or understanding. It takes A LOT longer than that to heal a shattered heart.
So how am I doing? Well, it depends on when you ask me. Some days are ‘good’- or relatively good anyway, and some days are very bad. Some days I need to be scraped up of the floor by someone I love, which has happened more times now than I can count. I miss my mom very very much. She and I were extremely close. We were two people who always knew how the other was feeling without even needing to call each other. Let me put it this way, I knew she had died the day before I received the phone call telling me she had.
I had planned to write a ‘dear mom’ post and include some photos of her, but I can’t, because ultimately it’s just too painful, too personal, and too hard. I hope to still be able to post some photos of her from her modeling days, which are so cool in that they are film photos taken in black and white, which you don’t see very often in high fashion these days. She was such a beautiful person inside and out. She was the most compassionate, accepting, non-judgmental, understanding, kind, loving person I’ve ever known. She was my rock. I love her with everything in me, and I will miss her forever until one day, hopefully, I see her again.
Now, it hasn’t all been sadness and loss. I’ve done shoots lately. I knew I needed to get out there and do what I love the most, and thanks to my incredibly patient and supportive clients who were willing to wait for me to be ready, I was finally able to get out there and do several shoots for some sweet dogs and their lovely owners. There was the adorable pomeranian pair that turned heads and elicited ‘awwws’ from strangers during our entire shoot, the affectionate and playful pitbull pair, one of whom has terminal cancer, and the Fergie look-alike who had me biting my tongue in order to call him by the right name during our shoot. I have images that I love from these shoots, and have been working on some really great products for my clients. I am so blessed to work for the people that I do. And I am loving my job now more than ever.
Losing my mom has taught me a lot about life. I have learned that, in a nutshell, life isn’t about working and success and fame and accomplishments and ‘stuff’; it’s about people, and relationships, and experiences, and adventure, and human connections, and ultimately, it’s about love. Really, those things are all that matter.
Now everything I do with my business and my personal life, will be toward those goals. All of the extra fat will be trimmed. I have new priorities, new goals, new values, and a new appreciation for life.
I want to sincerely thank all of you from the bottom of my heart who have been so supportive and loving and kind through all of this. I can’t put into words what it has meant to me. And the love and support my family and friends have given me? Well, that’s where I get choked up. My friends and family have kept me alive the past 4 weeks- bringing me food, talking to me on the phone, coming over to my house, scheduling car repair appointments, picking up my dog’s poop, watering my plants, etc, etc. I just, I don’t even know what to say, other than thank you. It means everything. It means that I know I’m going to be ok. And yes, Fergie is still here, sleeping right next to me. She has been very sweet and supportive through all of this. I’ve learned there is no better medicine for tears than dog kisses.
I have a lot of phone calls and emails I need to reply to from people who have reached out to me with their support, and I will get there. It will just take me awhile. But I will reply to each of you. Thank you so much for your patience.
I have so much to share here on the blog, and look forward to the posts I have yet to draft. It will take me a couple of months to post all of the things I want to post, and some will be really late compared to the time they took place, but I’ll get there. Look for the same fun, colorful, joyful images you have come to know from me, and some other fun stuff thrown in the mix.
If you are an impatient person like me, go check out my facebook page, where I’ve found posting simple short snippets with a photo or two to be manageable lately, so you’ll see some new work there. Oh, and I also bought a new lens, the Canon 24mm 1.4 L USM II, and a new Crumpler camera bag, both things I’m in love with. You can read more about those on my facebook page too.
As far as twitter goes, that’s one area of ‘fat’ that I’m in the process of trimming. In many ways I need to take my life back, and one simple step is ending my addiction to twitter (and other forms of electronics). I need to spend more time with family and friends, and just enjoying, and just ‘being’. I’ve been on that path for the past year, and now with my mom watching over me, I know that’s the right path to be on.
So thank you everyone, and don’t worry, I’m still here. A little wounded, a little weary, a little fragile, but I’m still here. Thanks for being here with me.