Mommom, Loss, and the Value of a Thousand Words


One of the things I routinely advertise when talking about my wedding and documentary/photojournalistic photography is that I ‘capture the little moments’ that make the day special, and that I capture memories that people will cherish. I received an email from a recent groom, Scott, sharing with me about one of the more special ‘moments’ I’ve had the privilege of capturing.

You’ll probably recall Leigh’s grandmother, Heijin (“Mommom”), from the wedding (you took several amazing shots of her). She actually passed away last Saturday, and Leigh is now back East for the services. I also mention this because you captured such an amazing photo of her – the one where Leigh is holding the side of her grandma’s face with her left hand – which now has incredible meaning to it. Leigh’s grandfather, and Heijin’s husband, passed away just three months ago as well. It’s clear that Heijin was clearly hanging on until the wedding, and then was ready to pass on and be with her husband, as so often happen when a spouse dies later in life. This is captured amazingly in that one photo you took – it’s as if her face is full of both extreme joy for being there for her granddaughter on such a happy day, as well as extreme sadness, knowing that this was probably the last time that she would be with Leigh and several members of the family on such a joyous occasion. It’s really incredible how a picture is worth a thousand words – and in this case, it’s more like a lifetime’s worth. Thank you for capturing that moment.

Stories like this make my work that much more meaningful. Having just lost a dear, dear friend to cancer yesterday, I know how precious such memories of the last moments you spent together can be, as you struggle to come to terms with the enduring ache of loss.


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  • July 28, 2008 - 2:00 pm

    Patty - What beautiful pictures and amazing way for this gal to cherish her grandmother.

  • August 13, 2010 - 11:10 am

    Susan Trumble - Fritz –

    I’m Leigh’s mom – thank you so much for this. As Heijin’s former daughter-in law this has much meaning for me in many ways. Even though I hadn’t seen her for many years, I remained so fond of her – she was a wonderful woman and mother-in-law.

    Again, my heartfelt thanks!

    Susan Trumble

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