[O]ne year ago today, I held my mom’s hand for the last time as her life slipped away. Only a few weeks earlier, she had still been going to work every day as the principal at Highland Elementary School in Lake Stevens, WA. Her latest round of chemotherapy, though, had not been effective, and her health deteriorated much more quickly than any of us had expected.
I have never felt so helpless as I did then, watching my mother die and knowing that there was nothing I could do about it.
Today, though, I think that there may be something I can do. I’ve created a gallery of my recent photographic work, and from now through the end of the month, 100% of the proceeds of all prints sold through Light & Matter will be donated to cancer research. All prints will be produced on June 1st and mailed the same week to reduce costs related to printing.
[A]s many of you know, in the months following my mom’s death I took an extended road trip, sometimes stopping to take pictures, sometimes just driving aimlessly. I started down the Washington and Oregon coasts, then headed through Eastern WA, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, and Montana. All but a few of the photos in the gallery are from that trip.
All things considered, my mom was very lucky. She was surrounded by her husband and a large, loving family throughout her illness, many family members flying across the country to stay with her for weeks at a time. Her school district was endlessly supportive… indeed, I’ve never seen anything like it; they practically created a new, less physically demanding administrative job for her during an uncertain year in her treatment. Faculty and staff brought a flood of food and gifts to her house when she was not well enough to go to work. Let me take this opportunity to thank them all one more time, especially the staff at Highland, Mt. Pilchuck, and the District Office: you have my deepest respect and gratitude.
For those of you who didn’t know my mother, I wish that I could explain how wonderful she was, and how much richer the world was to have her in it. I could go on for pages, but not knowing her, I fear you’d only see the ramblings of a boy who loved and misses his mother.
Unfortunately, most of our lives have been touched by cancer in some way. How many of you have lost grandparents to cancer as I have? Had friends or family members diagnosed with prostate, breast, or pancreatic cancer, or perhaps lymphoma? Perhaps, then, I don’t need to explain how desperately I’ve wished that there’s something I could do to help: I’m sure we all feel the same way. This seems like a good place for me to start.
Agree? Then lets pass this page around and see what we can get done together.
For those of you who would rather make a tax-deductible donation to a non-profit directly, then let me recommend my mother’s ACS Mosaic page.
To my regular readers, please forgive my self-indulgence in this matter… I’ll return to the discussion of photography with my next post.
This page and gallery were created in loving memory of my mom, Trudi Spierling.
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