I remember being 8 years old and begging my parents to let me spend the night with my grandparents. I’d even cry and cry until they caved or promised it would happen next time. My older brother “ran away” from home when he was 12 and he came here. More than anywhere I’ve ever lived, this house is home. Not because of the house itself, but because my Mamaw and Papa lived there.
My Mamaw passed away in November after almost a decade of fighting cancer. I always called her my sunshine, and she would call me that plus a million other complimentary things (Beautiful, Precious, Miss America, Sugar). She took the cake when it comes to making someone feel special.
Watching someone you love, who you know has the biggest and sweetest heart, suffer and slowly fade away is just the fucking worst. When she was in hospice, unable to speak or move or open her eyes but still able to hear us, I sang to her with a broken voice “you are my sunshine.”
The last photograph I ever took of my Mamaw was right here- in front of her house, beside her rose bush, with her best friend Judy. This piece inspired a collection of photographs that I’ve titled “Sunshine”. These works feature a theme of contrast- light and dark, life and death, growth and decay.