I wanted to honor my friend Kim Libecki on her birthday today. I often describe her as a “Mother of an Angel,” but she is also a wonderful mother to three other children. She and I have been friends since high school. When I left for college, she started a family and our lives went in different directions. A few years ago, tragedies brought us closer.
After her son died, I offered to photograph her support group. I had some experience about grieving in isolation, so I thought I might help with the mothers’ grieving process. I did not realize that I would gain more from the experience. I learned about photography, parenting, story telling and human relationships.
When I saw the first photos of Kim with her son’s skateboard at the skatepark , I questioned whether my photos were any good. I still doubt the the technical quality of those early photos. Perhaps the photos are made better by the harsh sun and my inadequacies. Some stories have enough impact to overshadow bad light.
Last summer was my third year visiting Kim’s support group. Mother of an Angel Friendship Network was started by Martha Tessmer. She is basically the mother of all the other mothers. Martha now works for Impact Teen Drivers. (Martha took the recent photos of me during my last visit with the group.)
I am forever grateful that the families have allowed me into their lives.