My 83-years-old paternal grandmother, Nanny, moved into a nursing home a little over a year ago.
She has dementia.
Daddy often goes with me to visit her (she lives about an hour away us). When we entered her room this past weekend, she was sitting in her wheelchair, looking out the window. As soon as she realized we were there, she immediately started crying and holding tight to Daddy. Her trembling, soft voice spoke of how lonely and confused she has been and still is.
She told us about the friends she has made... and how they have passed on.
She told us about "knots" and pounding in her head and how she wants to walk away... but she doesn't know where she is, or where to go.
Her sentences were extremely slow as she struggled to find simple words.
She told us how much she misses her kids... yet in the next breath, she told us she's "never been married and doesn't have any children... except maybe two daughters." (She was married for over 60 years; my Papa is already in Heaven. She has four sons, no daughters.)
For the first half of our visit, she didn't even know who I was. That was extremely HARD.
I looked over at Daddy and said, "We've got to get her out of this room! Let's take her outside." We did just that. We found a little shade and I placed a branch I broke off a crepe myrtle tree in her arms. In the warm sunshine, her countenance lifted, joy seemed to replace fear, and she began posing with the blossoms, asking me to take her pictures. I did.
The next day, I uploaded those images to my computer. I only made it through editing a handful of the pictures... I couldn't see for the tears. I wept and prayed all throughout the night. Dementia is a cruel thief.
Perhaps you, too, have a loved one whose mind or spirit have been troubled or affected by a disease? Anxiety and depression accompanied my lupus diagnosis and have been my companions for a while now. Yet, I have found Comfort and Hope within the darkness. I've found a Balm. It's Jesus.
John 4:24 says, God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
My own emotional truths are woven into the fabric of each photograph I take! Photographing my family is a deeply spiritual process for me. This is how Mom Photo Balm came to be... I found refuge and strength using my cameras as an instrument to reflect Light into this dark world.
I view documentary inspired storytelling photography as way to highlight God's mercy and grace in my life. And you can do this, too!
Yesterday, I was inspired by words Kelly Jensen spoke on Instagram.
"I'll hold space for you... and love you from here."
Wow! And, YES! That's the kind of place I want Mom Photo Balm to be! I don't know what brought you here, friend. Perhaps you feel lost in life. It's easy to lose yourself in the daily rhythm of motherhood. Perhaps you feel aimless or without purpose. I want you to know that I'm holding space for you... I love you from here.
And to my Nanny, who will most likely never see this post, I'm gonna hold this space for you, too... (even when you don't know who I am and we seem so far apart)... I love you from here. I know who you are, and you are so precious to me.
I believe God says that about me and you, as well. Even if you forget Him, or you're confused, lost, lonely... He knows you and you are so precious to Him. He loves you more than you or I can fathom!
Friendship is the finest balm,