I knew I wanted to do it, but even more I thought people would think I was weird or even more horrifying, people might think I was vain. After all, I have been called vain before which I didn’t think was possible given how I feel about my appearance.
I just knew it was something I wanted to document: my face, before Nora, my melanoma, gets removed later today.
As a member of the arts community here in Bakersfield, I know many photographers. I opened my mind and heart and asked, “Who should I ask to take these photos for me?”
The answer came immediately: “Sarah.”
I hadn’t seen Sarah in a long time. She used to do theater here in Bakersfield. She has done a lot of creative endeavors, but the last time I saw her she said she was scaling back her photography business. She also mentioned way back then she would be happy to photography my children and I in the future.
I sent her a facebook message which started something like this, “I know this might sound weird, but…” and she called me soon after saying she would be honored. She went on to say her mother had also had skin cancer and like me, had to have her face reconstructed.
I almost wanted to cancel several times. I almost wanted to say “Never mind, really – this is highly unnecessary” but I pushed myself through that pulse. I showed up a bit late and off we went, traipsing through Hart Park to see where the setting sun and the sights would take us.
My only aim? Surprise and perhaps, if I was lucky, one decent picture.
Look at these photos. Look how gorgeous they are? I am not saying I am gorgeous, it is so far from that – what I am saying is, didn’t Sarah capture the moment well? Aren’t the colors crisp and astounding?
I think it is a proper farewell and remembrance.
Nora has reminded me of the preciousness of each moment – something I knew but sometimes don’t remember very well. She also reminded me I have the most incredible assortment of friends on the planet. It is also significant that I have heard from each of my siblings this week: even John.
He told me it is time for him to take care of me. He said he was so happy to be able to change seats with me and hold me up rather than the other way around.
Thank you, Nora. I’m ready for you to go now. Thank you, Sarah Downie from seeing sarah photography. Thank you: those words don't say enough. (And readers, all the photos she took are copyright protected. Thank you for respecting that!)
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Julie Jordan Scott