Lost My Mom…

My mother died Sunday morning November 29. She had been on hospice for a while but in recent weeks started a significant decline.

We had a celebration of her life service here in the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina area this past Thursday afternoon.

During the service I spoke a bit about some memories I had of mom going back to my childhood. She always had a love of nature and I can vividly remember her announcing the first Spring sighting of a robin in our backyard. She always delighted in the antics of the squawking blue jays, the scampering squirrels, and the bright crimson color of the cardinals.

As years went on and she came to live nearby us here in South Carolina, mom would continue to be amazed and interested in the various wildlife that could be seen when my wife Alyce and I took her on day trips to area gardens, nature preserves and parks. She saw dolphins splashing in the ocean, egrets and herons feeding and taking flight, and several alligator sightings as you may expect.

But something different and more remarkable started to occur as we were on one of our adventures. Mom started to point out scenes that in her words she thought “would make a nice picture.” Well it turned out that in virtually every case, she was right. What she had spotted would indeed make a very nice picture. She *saw* it. It has always been my view that those who could ‘see’ the scene before taking the picture would always come home with the most interesting photographs.

So it was during these times that something else began to occur to me. This was where I got it from! My love of nature and my interest in capturing some of those scenes had to come from mom. She started it all back when I was a child, and I never knew how that could even conceivably turn out later in my life.

So I want to give special thanks to my mom for passing along a valuable gift. One that I will always treasure and hopefully continue to be inspired to pursue.

This photo here of an a pure white egret ascending upward from it’s earthbound home to it’s equally comfortable home in the sky is a tribute to my mom’s new life up in heaven where I know she is enjoying the endless bounty of nature and all sorts of unimaginable wonders that were awaiting her.

My mother will be missed by many here on earth, but I will endeavor to honor and keep her memory alive by always keeping my eyes open for something that “would make a nice picture…”

Egret Ascending


102 thoughts on “Lost My Mom…

  1. A very moving post, Phil, which brought tears to my eyes. I’m so sorry for your loss. Your mom (mum, for us in the UK) sounds like a wonderful woman, and if it’s her who gave you your eye for a wonderful photo, then I think she has the gratitude of thousands of people who follow and enjoy your blog! A beautiful photo for your beautiful mum, and may she rest in peace. Lx

    • Thank you very much for the kind words of support Lucy, I greatly appreciate it. Another memory I have is when the big news of the week for my mom was when a fox ran through the back yard! That required a phone call.

  2. It was same for me too dear Phil, I can’t stop my tears now. I am so sorry for your beautiful mother, I can see her now, yes, through your amazing photographs. What a great woman. I pray for her and for your family, may she rest in peace. Love, nia

  3. My deepest sympathy extended to you and your family. You’re so right! Love of nature, respect for living things and an “eye” for beauty was clearly passed to you from
    Your Mom.

    • I’m glad you feel that way Pamela, thank you so much. My mom even loved seeing our cats, she really did have a special place in her heart for the little creatures we have in our lives.

  4. What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful woman. She sounds so much like my Mom. Always pointing out the first spring flowers, first migrating birds, etc., etc.

  5. Oh Phil, I’m so sorry for your loss. I know what it feels like to lose a precious Mom. Her passing leaves a big hole that no-one else can fill. I love how you shared that your Mom was such an inspiration to you. She must have been so proud of your amazing photography. A most beautiful photo of the pure white egret and a very loving and moving tribute. Hugs to you and Alyce. Sylvia

    • Yes she was a special lady and recently a deer walked through our back yard here and that reminded me how mom and Elaine would get excited about a fox sighting or even a skunk sighting!

  6. Oh Phil I am so sorry to hear,,, but what a wonderful story ,,,, and tribute to your mom! I’m sure she was an absolutely lovely woman, as she raised you up, and we all can tell thru our online exchanges with you that you have everyone’s best interests at heart, you are kind, and yes, you certainly have a love for and an “eye” for that nature shot!! Hugs to you and your family! Sally

    • Thanks very much for looking and commenting and I greatly appreciate your kind words. I’m going to be especially on alert next time I’m out looking for a picture and I know I’ll have help.

  7. Im so sorry about your mom, between the beautiful picture of the egret and what u have said about your mom, both are a beautiful, touching combination that it really touched my heart feeling the love and beauty of the combination of both. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful memoir Linda

  8. So very sorry for your loss. I think it being holidays makes it harder, too. I lost my mom on Christmas eve, 2010. It was her 96th birthday as well. Wishing you and yours well.

    • Wow, sure seems things often happen around the holidays. Sorry to hear about your mom, my dad died on Thanksgiving Eve 2001 and I lost grandparents around Christmas. Tough times for sure. Thank you for the good thoughts.

  9. So sorry for the loss of your mom. She sounded like a wonderful person and a good mother to instill the wonderful world of nature in you so early in your life. The egret picture is beautiful.

  10. Mothers have many gifts to offer and sometimes when we are young and “know it all” we just don’t “see” just what it is that is being given. Thankfully a day does come when the memory of the gift surfaces and explored. My thoughts are with you and your wife as I too have lost my mother and can relate to the loss. Your tribute to her brought tears, Thank you for sharing.

    • I greatly appreciate you stopping in and reading my tribute Judi. Sorry to hear of the loss of your mom, it is rough for sure. I’m just happy I finally realized this extra ‘gift’ my mom gave me. It’s a nice feeling.

  11. What a touching and beautiful tribute to your mother! Thank you so much for intimately sharing your memories of her “gift” and its impact on your life. As your photography and your commentaries make their way to those around you and beyond; you indeed are a radiant example of her “gift”. And what a wonderful legacy she has left behind in you and yours!

    ~Vicky and Tom

    • Thanks a million Vicky, I really appreciate you stopping in and checking out this tribute post to my mom and I continue to appreciate your interest and support. It’s kind of a nice feeling to try to honor my mom by keeping an ongoing appreciation for nature and wildlife.

  12. So sorry to hear about your mom. What a beautiful tribute. My mom also gave me an appreciation of nature and every time I see a beautiful scene or have an unexpected wildlife/bird sighting I think of it as a gift from her.

  13. What lovely prose in tribute to your mom, Phil. I’m a little misty-eyed, thinking about the bond of nature and how it brings so many of us together. Thank you, my friend, for giving us the gift of your “nice pictures” each and every day. The wildlife you see is so very different than what we have here in the Midwest. I appreciate you sharing your neck of the woods with us!

    • Well I’m thrilled that you enjoy seeing the types of wild creatures we have along the southern coast here. It kind of even means more to me now realizing how the whole thing started. Thanks very much for the kind words!

  14. I’m sorry to hear of your loss, Phil. I know there’s a hole in your life, but you obviously have wonderful memories to carry forward. Congratulations on your wonderful tribute to her life.

    • Thank you Shelly, yes it is a bit of a tough time around here now but I do thankfully have many wonderful memories of my mom and have an extra special incentive to keep things going.

  15. I am so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute. I smiled reading about your mom, and learned to appreciate nature just a little bit more as I saw the world through her eyes. Interesting about her eye for a scene. I think you are right that the person who can see the scene first comes home with the best photo.

    • I know I was truly amazed when my mom would start pointing out scenes and even strongly suggest I “should get a picture of that”. It’s kind of comforting for me now to keep that in mind. Thanks much for the kind comments.

  16. Oh Phil, I am so very sorry to hear about the loss of your Mom. My heartfelt sympathy to you, your wife and family.
    She left in you behind her wonderful gift of ‘seeing’ the photograph before actually taking the shot. Your beautiful pictures are the proof. We do have certain areas here in Kerala/South India where the fields are often full with those lovely egrets and we, my family here, always say, each one represents a soul gone to Heaven.

  17. Oh Phil, I am so very sorry to hear of your mom’s passing. Lucy says it for both of us here. I still have the beautiful picture of you, Alyce and your mom, she looked to be a lovely lady. We all have so much to thank her for, every time we look at your wonderful pictures. May her spirit soar. My love to you both xx

    • Thank you very much Maggie! I continue to greatly value your ongoing interest and support of not only my wildlife photos but the kind words you always express about myself and my family. We love you and your family a bunch here!

  18. I’m sorry to hear about your loss, Phil. She surely left a wonderful legacy through you.
    I hope and pray for peace of heart for your family and all the people she left behind.

  19. So Sorry to hear about your Mother Phil, she is at piece and in your memories forever. I now see where you got your talent from. Take care TJ and Kathy

  20. I’m so very sorry to hear about your mom — but what a beautiful gift she gave you… and what a wonderful gift you gave her, in return. What a wonderful image of light and freedom to honer her with.

    • Thank you so much for stopping in I greatly appreciate it. It’s been a rough time but we are thankful for the wonderful memories of mom. Glad you enjoyed the egret photo I included along here as well.

  21. Dearest Phil, Alyce, may God’s great creation continue to sing powerfully through your gift and your mother’s legacy. As we pause and contemplate on all that she was and all that you have become, I certainly thank the Lord that He deemed it so.

    • I truly appreciate your very kind words Edna, thank you. I am going to try to continue to honor my mother by maintaining love and interest in the many wonderful creatures God has put upon this earth.

  22. Phil,
    This is a beautiful tribute to your Mom. I think the love of nature was not the only legacy your Mom left you. You are surely a devoted and thoughtful son.

  23. Phil I’m so sorry for your loss. Your words are a touching tribute to someone who sounds ok a remarkable lady. I’m sure she’ll continue to inspire you.

  24. So sorry to hear about your loss, Phil. I’m so glad to hear that she left a wonderful legacy and influenced you and your passions in so many ways. Prayers from the Rasberry household

  25. Our condolences on the loss of your Mom. What a touching tribute. Her gift lives on in you and your photographs. I’m sure she is proud of your amazing talent and the lives you have touched with the gift she nurtured in you as a child.

  26. Phil. Wonderful tribute to your mom and wonderful story. Sorry to hear of her decline and of your loss. You are among the best when it comes to photography and its really cool that you have recognized that your mom has a part in that. May you have peace in your loss and continue to share your great images with us! Thanks for sharing friend and my prayers are with you!

  27. So sorry to hear of your loss. I am sure your Mother took much pleasure in your beautiful photographs, your journeys together exploring the wonders of nature and the knowledge that you had inherited her love and gift of artistry. Surely she knew she had a hand in your passion for photograph. Whether or not she expressed it to you verbally, she knew you both had this special bond. Among other things, you will always carry her gift and a part of her with you as you view the world through your camera. May it bring you comfort, smiles and warm memories. Your sentiments and Great White Egret are a wonderful tribute to your mother. I am sure she is incredibly pleased, proud, and is smiling down upon you. In the future, don’t be surprised to find yourself listening for her voice whenever you are out seeking new subjects. You just may just hear her whispering, “Take it from this view/angle Phil, it would make a great photograph!”

    • This is wonderful Leslie, thanks so much. Your last lines especially brought both a tear and a smile to my face. I greatly appreciate your thoughtful and comforting comments.

  28. The written tribute to your mother is lovely, Phil. Sorry to hear of your loss. She gave you your love of nature and an eye for recording it, so she’ll never be far from you.

  29. Phil, very sorry to hear about the loss of your mom. The tribute photo is lovely. She gave you a gift, the love of nature and a way to show it to the world. And in return you gave her the gift of so many nice photos!

  30. The most beautifully expressed memorial seen through written words and art, derived from one single photo. Phil, I am jealous of your life with your mom and your talent! Thank You.

    • Thank you so much for checking in here Janel, Alyce and I appreciate it greatly. I know my mom will continue to inspire me and maybe be that extra help some day to ‘see’ a picture I might have otherwise missed.

  31. I am sorry for your loss. It is a difficult time to lose a family member at this time of the year, especially with the holidays fast approaching. Your mention of your mom telling you “that would make a nice picture” brought a smile. Parents in their golden years certainly bring a different perspective to everything.

    Our best wishes to you, your wife, and family.

    • Thanks a million David, I greatly appreciate your very kind and thoughtful words. It is rough indeed to lose a family member around the holidays. And sadly, my family seems to have a habit of that. I lost my dad and grandparents around holidays.
      Again, thanks for writing.

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