Photos I Love: Valerie and Me


I don’t remember where or even exactly when this picture was taken …
it doesn’t really matter. What’s important is that this is the only photo of just me and Valerie Rose Julian. Valerie is my mother-n-law, who died just days after my 2nd wedding anniversary. She was a strong and independent woman who fought hard for two years before losing her battle with cancer. Our relationship didn’t start out very well. She made is quite clear that my timing was off—I showed up and stole away precious time with her only son, at a time when she really needed his attention. And to be honest, she wasn’t the kind, soft-spoken mother-n-law I had imagine for myself either. But now, I long to sit arm and arm with Val. Now, that I’ve lived with her remarkable son for 12 (24+) years. I see her influence on his life everyday, and now that I have four boys of my own, I’m beginning to understand how she loved Geoff and needed to connect with him. I’m finding after 12 years of marriage that I’m stronger and more independent than I thought I was. I’m certainly not always soft-spoken. Valerie and I are a lot a like. I think she would be proud of me and the direction my life has taken—I think now I would listen to her advice. It’s clear to me that her timing was off. She left our lives way too early and I wish I could sit and talk with her again.

NOTE: I am undertaking a project to publish my Photos I Love album pages on my blog. I’m also sharing this project with students in my Inspired Scrapbooking workshop. We are focused on family stories this month (March 2014) and I’ve been thinking a LOT about the stories that are hidden away in my many scrapbooks. I am keen to get these stories online, so that A) they are archived and B) they are shareable. 

Why do we sometimes wait too long to write about people we love? I think perhaps because we have a lot to say and we don’t want to say it wrong—or we want to at least say it really well. The thing I like about a Photos I Love project (in an album or on a blog) is that you don’t feel the need to be complete or perfect. You simply write to one photo, expressing one or two thoughts that are part of the bigger, more challenging story.
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  1. Beautiful story about a very important person in your life. Lovely and honest tribute to your relationship. I think that is so important. Looking back thoughtfully. I recently participated in Jennifer Wilson’s 34 Things and shared some photos of my Mom who died very suddenly 3 years ago. I was so encouraged and lifted up by the response. Thank you for inspiring others to share more stories of their loved ones. It provides inspiration in so many ways to so many people.

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