I have an interesting professional career. Everyday there is a new and different, sometimes even odd, task or activity I have to get done. Recently I was a wedding photographer to a couple wanting to get married as soon as possible before the groom’s mother passed away. The groom’s mother is currently receiving hospice care and was told that she didn’t have much time left. Her last wish was to see her son get married.
I was happy to have been part of such a sweet and special moment for the couple and their family. Their mother reminded me of my late great grandmother. It was her hair that made me think of her as I took pictures. As the mother laid in her hospital bed, I took pictures of her gray and black hair with the couple in the background holding hands and saying their vows. Her family had placed a flower in her hair matching the flowers in the bride’s bouquet. Her hair was brushed and styled and you could see how much care and love she was receiving from our family and care team.
It reminded me so much of my last visit with my great grandmother when she was in the hospital. My grandmother, mother, and I visited her to see how she was doing. During our visit, my mother sang to her and brushed her gray and black curly hair with her fingers. Caring for my great grandmother’s hair was an intimate and loving part of being a caregiver of a loved one. I’ve witnessed it many times as my mom and grandmother cared for my great grandmother. When I was a teenager, I helped my great grandmother brush her hair. She would tell me where in the bathroom to grab her hair products and I would help her style her hair.
Taking care of our hair and singing songs together is a common practice between black women. There’s love in that action. So much love that seeing another black woman brush her hands in her mother-in-law’s hair immediately brought me back to seeing my mother and my great grandmother together.
It takes a village to raise a child and I was blessed to have my great grandmother, grandmother, and my mother all at once in my life for a large portion of my life.
There is grief in losing those we love and I am aware that grief comes and goes. For a moment I was reminded of not only the grief from losing my great grandmother seven years ago, but also the beautiful moment we shared together before her passing.
My great grandmother was and is a beautiful black woman, sister, mother, great grandmother, and great great grandmother. When we took her home from the hospital, she waited till everyone was asleep and then she passed.
A mother’s love is unconditional and everlasting. I know my great grandmother’s love still lives within all of us and I am happy I cherished every moment I had with her.