Maui Memories in the Midst of Cancer

It was one of those emails that sucker punches you and overwhelms you with every kind of emotion all at once.

“My mom has been diagnosed with terminal cancer,” Sarah wrote.  Her mom had never been to Maui, and she wanted to cross that item off her bucket list.  So she brought her entire family of eight with her.  For one final trip.  And they asked me to photograph them as their remembrance.

I got on the phone with her.  I shared my own story.  And I said “yes, of course.  Tell me when and where.”

We gathered together on a beautiful Maui morning, and took our time making our way to the sand at Polo Beach.  Nancy asked for a portrait of herself that could be used at her memorial service.  And we began shooting.  They had never had a big family photograph taken.  It was such an honor to be able to provide one for them.

This week, I received a text from Sarah.  “I wanted you to know my mom is dying in the hospital,” she said. “Right by her head is a framed family picture you took and an album of all her favorites.  Thank you for being a part of her story.  It is a treasure we will hold on to forever.”

Nancy, thank you for allowing me to be a part of your story.  It was such a treasure to meet you and to photograph you.  Give Shawna a squeeze for me when you see her.

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