“But there’s a story behind everything. How a picture got on a wall. How a scar got on your face. Sometimes the stories are simple, and sometimes they are hard and heartbreaking. But behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours begin.” -Mitch Album
The story of Violet is really the story miracles. In the face of devastation, new beginnings; in the face of great pain, great joy; and in the presence of death, new life… life that is filled with hope and joy and miracles. I think we have to constantly point them out…
“Those who sew in tears will reap with joyful shouting” -Psalms 126:5 Bible
Meet Violet of Violet June Photography in Murrieta! She is an award winning photographer; we are friends through our professional organization: Professional Photographers of San Diego County. When Violet became pregnant I was very excited. She chose me to photograph her after I entered an emotional image in one of our photo competitions. (Or maybe it was because I kept asking her who would be photographing her!) That image of a cancer and domestic abuse survivor spoke to her. It wasn’t long before I learned of all Violet’s story.
Violet fought a long hard battle with breast cancer which resulted in a double mastectomy to save her life. To repair her young body they used her belly to create breasts and then informed her she would never be able to have children. I can only imagine her reaction… the reaction of her husband. This type of devastation at such a young age with all of life ahead. But then I found myself looking at Violet’s life through the lens of a mother, her mother… It’s one thing to have stuff happen to you, but to have bad things happen to your children?!?! Mother’s fix things, we kiss owies, and make life better; we pick up our kids when they are down and set them on the path to recover, but there was nothing anyone, especially her mother, could do to fix or kiss all this away. They just had to let the Doctors work.
As we met together she showed her scars where the port had been in her chest and her first Cesarean Section from her first son. Some say that Doctors say “practice” because they are not always right, and in this case thankfully, they were not. Now pregnant with her second son, she wanted me to highlight the scars and show the big round belly she was carrying. While I thought it was beautiful and very baby full-sized, she felt it was odd shaped after Doctors had removed some of her belly. Here in this session I was able to focus on her joy, her laughter, her sexiness (seriously!!) and occasionally, you could see the cost behind what she had already encountered.
I asked her about having cancer and she told me what cancer taught her was “how to really be alive. “
Violet now has three healthy sons at home, Three children under three! I think that makes her an over-achiever and I’m sure, it makes her mother and husband incredibly happy. It also guarantees her a life filled with all the joy, and mess and crazy and kisses and chaos that is family… And that is all so wonderful. One thing I have noticed is that in spite of whatever is happening around her, Violet is still full of joy, inquisitive, still really friendly and has a sense about her of looking at life as an adventure, not as a tragedy, not looking to the past. Her eyes are bright and always looking ahead, fully present, fully alive. When her boys grow up and look back on their lives, they are going to see their Mother’s story. When they ponder her story of courage, perseverance and sacrifice, they will know of their importance and their value to their mother and of course, father; and when they look at their lives, they will always see her in their decisions, and in their determination. They will see how their parents made the best possible life for their children… and they will get the joy and responsibility of starting that all over again in their own lives.
You see Violet’s work and find more of Violet June Photography at: https://www.violetjunephoto.com/