Hi, I’m Brianna Doby and welcome to my blog. Please take a spin around the blog to find samples of my work, tips on how to make your photography session a success, and some general musings about my craft.

« I have a secret | Main | "I don't know what to do with my ARMS!"* »

New kind of family portrait

There have been a few seminal moments in my life:

Moving to Denver, Colorado in 2001

Marrying my best friend in 2001, who is now my kind and loving co-parent and best friend (but no longer my husband)

The birth of my daughter

The birth of my son

The death of my mother

That last one has been a real game-changer.  As I like to tell my children, everyone has their "unfair"--it's unfair that some children have to grow up in an unsafe place, it's unfair that some people become sick, and others die well before their time, it's unfair that some people lose their jobs, etc.  Everyone has their "unfair" because no one's life is perfect. 

My "unfair" was the early death of my mother.

It's hard to express what happens when, as a young adult, something happens that shifts every single point of reference you (previously thought) you knew.

Holding my mother's hand while she died quickly, yet somehow so slowly, after an accidental brain trauma due to a seizure...something in me broke, or shifted, or shattered, or pulled.  I don't know how to describe it, but there was a fundamental movement in my life that has altered every moment going forward.

I didn't write a big Mother's Day post last week, not because I begrudge the celebration at all, but because it's still a day I would rather spend with my covers over my head and plenty of tissues for all the sobbing that, inevitably, will occur.

I don't quite know how to describe what it feels like to live without my mother without falling into cliches.  But I will say that the way she called me in the mornings to make sure I knew the weather forecast--"Hey, darlin', it's going to be chilly today! Wear a scarf!" and the way she smelled like clean clothes dried in the sun with a touch of Youth Dew and the way she listened without already deciding she understood and the way she hugged her grandchildren with her WHOLE BODY, a WHOLE HUG that said how devoted, how in love she was with these little ones...

God help me, I ache as I miss her.

It's hard for a photographer, someone whose everyday work is to CATCH something, to literally and metaphorically CAPTURE a moment and SAVE it--it's hard for me as a photographer to be 100% unable to express in an image what connection I had, and still have, with my mother.

Maybe that's why I am so incredibly interested, even driven, to do that for my clients.  "Hang onto this beautiful moment together! SAVE IT!" I'm saying as I take their portraits, take their little moments and keep them safe for a future day when it is missed, when it is needed, when someone is aching because someone else isn't there.

Save it, catch it, capture it, keep it.  Not because you want it to leave, but because it inevitably will.

Here's my new family portrait.  It's not like the ones I take for you, my clients.  It's the only one I can take, because where she is, I can't be.  This will have to do for now. 

Save it, catch it, capture it, keep it.  Because my mother left, but who she was to all of us--that remains.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (3)

Beautifully written, my friend. So much love to you.

May 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKate L.

Oh wow. I think the lump in my throat has finally dissipated. So beautifully expressed... thank you for sharing.

May 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Thanks, Amy and Kate. Does it make sense if I say that it helps to have written it, even though it was pretty sad? Made me feel better to put all of these thoughts and feelings into words. Thanks for reading...and understanding.

May 22, 2012 | Registered CommenterBrianna Doby

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>