I’m sure you can tell there is an underlying theme of RENT here.
-Without You - RENT
This song totally applies to my heart, while looking at photos of the year before my mom passed. I must say that my mom would be ticked if I said that I would “die'“ without her. So I’ll say that I’m “very unhappy,” but it doesn’t have the same dramatic impact. These posts will be in reverse order, starting in March and progressing back - like you guessed it - The Last Five Years (jamming in my headphones)
Get some tissues, because some of these pics are RUL
TAKE 2 I got 2/3 of the way done and of course didn’t think to save because everything in 2019 autosaves… NOT.
This was taken March 6, 2018 when she was in deep coma.
For a time, my mom was non-verbal before slipping into a deep coma. In this time, she communicated with hand gestures. Our favorite gesture was “the birdie” that she flipped towards our delightful president, “45.” We cheered when we saw this!
The last time she was cognizant while I played cello for her, she tapped her hand and managed to say, “you’re not giving enough time to the G” or “don’t rush!”
This was the last day that my mom was active, cognizant, and still had her spark and fire.
Here, you see my mom and Bebop, Phillip’s dog. Bebop gave my mom lots of comfort while he was in Madison! She loved the little guy!
Also here is my beloved cousin, Sandy Vilmer! My mom loved Sandy so so so much!
This photo always harkens to “I’ll Cover You (Reprise)” from the Original Broadway Cast of RENT
These are my favorite pictures taken in Spring 2018 - they show how beautiful my mom was! Such a firecracker!
Christmas 2017 pictures! The picture of us is one of my favorites of all time - fun, happy, and bright!
You are watching an EXCLUSIVE video of my mom and dad dancing - where they did dance quite a bit, I don’t have much on camera - here it is! My dad got my mom a Dianna Krall vinyl for Christmas - she is singing in the background!
This always makes me break up - pure love and joy!
My mom and I had great times together (as you will see in future posts).
The first picture was taken at Inca Mexican Restaurant in Sioux Falls - we had just had a great day on the town! The second photo was taken to show her cancer doctors both in Sioux Falls and in Texas how she was doing. “Be sure you get my whole figure - to show them how I do cancer.”
The third was after a piano/cello practice session my mom and I had.
Back in October of 2017, my mom, dad, and I went to Santa Fe to see old friends, visit familiar places, and reminisce about past times and memories.
We celebrated my 26th birthday in Custer, SD.
After work on Monday, we got in our new Hyundai Tucson and drove west towards Custer, SD. It was on this trip that I fell in love with Wessington Springs, SD - the rolling hills and pockets of trees are so unique! When we got about thirty minutes outside of Custer, we started to see packs (?) of deer and big horn sheep on the side of the road. I kept thinking in my head, “don’t jump out and destroy my car! Don’t jump out! Don’t Jump out!” My dad would warn me when he saw clusters (ah! There’s the word!) on the side of the road. We wandered around the Black Hills on my birthday, visiting Sylvan Lake, The Game Lodge, and a new treasure, The Badger Hole! The later is a place where South Dakota’s first poet laureate Badger Clark lived. It was one of the coolest places! It was interesting that we were there on my birthday, as he died on my birthdate in 1957!
In mid-September 2017, my mom’s cousin’s, Cleo and Garda, came to see us in Madison. I made dinner and we shared great laughs, memories, and they looked at old family pictures.
These are very special pictures that I took before moving mom up to South Dakota. The first three pictures contain some members of her OG possy, the “Gal Pals” who gave her so much help both physically and spiritually.
I think of this photo as my mom reflecting upon what the past four months brought
After a long day of moving, these videos show my mom giving one last performance at her home in Denton, Texas.
These pictures show things in reverse. The first is an image after her second chemo infusion - she and my dad were dropping me and Phillip off at the airport.
The second is her, at a BBQ she hosted at my dad’s house - she wanted to get used to wearing bandanas (this was before she discovered her now iconic beret).
The last picture shows my dad, my mom, and I on the Denton Square - this was a few days before my mom’s first chemo treatment.
These are pictures of my family’s cemetery plot in DeSmet, SD. The first two photos show the impeccable views that surround the cemetery.
The grave stone is that of Benjamin Vaughan, the homesteader of our family. Notice the index finger - both my Grandfather (Kenneth Vaughan) and my mom were big users of the index finger, when gesturing! I guess it runs in the family!
To end on a high note, a few days before her diagnosis came, I came across this book while weeding Juvenile Fiction - it was one of my favorite books as a kid!
Pictures help to tell a story of the last year - now that we have access to all kinds of camera technology, we take advantage of this. I’m going to try to construct a physical album of these photos.