What’s the one thing I wish I did before my mom died?
Take more photos.
But no, I assumed I’d have more time. We always have more time, right? Until we don’t.
My baby was born, and I was frazzled. Lost in a sea of having a third child and postpartum anxiety. My mom asked for photos. I was nursing, I hadn’t showered. I felt gross. I didn’t want to let my last baby go from my arms. I had time, right? Until you don’t. She asked for photos. And now. We only have one.
We only have one.
I remember it well, the last and final time she asked for a photo. We were standing in my kitchen and I finally felt okay letting my sweet, tiny, little newborn into another person’s arms. I know, she was my mom, but we had a unique relationship, and also, postpartum is hard. It was even harder to let go, but I finally did. I put her into my mom’s arms and that was it. I finally took the photo.
That moment I captured on camera was the last time my mom ever held my newest, and final baby. The last time she ever held her. It breaks my heart even writing this. It was the first—and only—photo I have of them together. Could that be any more heartbreaking? I don’t think so.
I swore I’d have more time, I swore it would be okay to keep pushing it and pushing it because she’d be there to watch them grow, and change, and maybe she wouldn’t be in the photos, but she’d see the photos. I sent her photos every single day. But, I was wrong.
She never got to see her grow.
She never got to see the photos, let alone be in them. She died—her life cut drastically short, and all I have of her and my youngest child is one measly photo. Devastating.
If you asked me now, four years later, what my biggest regret after losing my mom was, I would say not saying yes every dang time she asked me to take a photo of her with any one of my kids. Every single time, every (let’s be real) annoying minute of it because now I’m left devastated that I don’t have more. I find myself digging through every phone, every iPad, anything, just hoping there’s something I missed. But there’s not. There’s just the one photo. There’s just her. There’s just her. There’s just loss.
Take the photos.
I mean it. Treasure those moments because they’re literally gone in an instant. Death happens, we know this. As awful as it is, everyone dies at some point, but we never ever expect it to happen to us. I don’t know why . . . maybe because we just don’t want it to happen to us.
Death is the one thing we all experience but no one is ever prepared for. So how can we be more prepared? We can live. Live fully. Love fully, and indulge in the joy that is right in front of our faces, enjoying each precious moment while it’s happening. Life is just too short to have to look back and grieve the photos you never took. So, take it from me, take the photos and keep taking them. Don’t feel guilty for it either because it’s a far worse feeling when you don’t have them at all.