Story Behind the Rose- A Tribute to My Mother

Hello friends, before I start I just want to say that this post is going to be raw and real, so thank you for taking the time to read.

Mother’s day is almost here and I'm an emotional mess ball. About a year and a half ago my mom died from stage IV lung cancer but in many ways my mom wasn’t really a "mother" in the traditional sense, my Grandma is. So you see on Mother's day while I’m still grieving the loss of my mother I am also celebrating my grandmother. These conflicting emotions make mother's day difficult for me, as I imagine many other people probably experience similar difficulties.

So in my confusion I feel compelled to share the story of the rose in my business. In July of 2016 my mother went into the hospital for a second time to get what she (and everyone else) thought was pneumonia treated. The doctors quickly suspected lung cancer due to the large mass found in one of her lungs.

Upon hearing that my mother might have cancer I reacted like most people do...stillness, confusion, and anger...this CAN'T be happening, I'm not ready for her to die, but maybe she'll survive.

My head was a mess of thoughts and my heart was aching.

My relationship with my mother was broken and with the news of cancer came this hopeless realization that we might not get the chance to truly repair our relationship. This devastated me but even in that devastation I wasn't able to force myself to move things along. I wanted to but I didn't know how. My mom died August 12, 2016...less than 6 weeks after going into the hospital for pneumonia.

6 short weeks to repair a lifetime of brokenness and I frantically attempted to do so in a very slow turtle like way. The truth is I thought I had more time. 6 months, maybe a year but never did it cross my mind she would die so soon after the diagnosis. I spent my days messaging her trying to get to know this woman named mother who felt more like a stranger I loved. In one of our days messaging back and forth the naming of my first unborn child came up. After days of thinking she sent me this…..

So you see the rose such a cliche flower everyone loves is now something different to me because she opened my eyes to a new way of seeing it. It symbolizes my journey and her life. My mom wasn't able to get around the thorns in her own life which is why our relationship was less than ideal but losing her shook me to my core and propelled me out of the fog I was living in and thrust me into a journey of healing and living.

The last day I was truly able to spend time with her, I corralled her, all 5 of us kids, and the 3 grand-babies to a near by park to take some family photos. By no means are these photos perfect but I will always be thankful for them and I will always share them with others.

Later that day we went to Lake Michigan. The six of us together again floating under the sun with linked hands and feet.

Life doesn't always happen the way we plan but it's how we handle difficult moments that define us. It took losing my mother for me to wake up and begin living again. Don't wait for that to happen to you. Live your life now and remember that we don't get to choose what happens to us but we do get to choose how we handle it.

In honor of Kimberly Ann McMillan who always tried.

I love you and I miss you.

Light & Love,



Personal & Business Branding Photographer in Pittsburgh, PA

Pittsburgh based Family Portrait Photographer

Based in Pittsburgh, PA

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