I drove to Fresno County on Wednesday to visit a friend. I drove four hours one way so that I could turn around and drive three hours home. It was worth it. My long term projects have become my close friendships.
Kimberly Marie Hamilton died ten years ago May 7, 2004. Mary Minnette Sappington gathered some of her friends at a downtown Clovis restaurant to honor her daughter. The Kimberly Marie Hamilton Memorial Interchange sign also attended. You can see the slideshow from my brief visit.
When Mary reflected on the ten year struggle, she had doubted that she would still be around ten years later. Her daughter’s tragic death would have been too much to survive, but somehow she made it with the support of her friends.
I first photographed Mary on the six year anniversary of my father’s suicide in 2010. In 2012, we visited the site where Kimberly died; we also visited the high school memorial with her other students’ names.… Read the rest
Ten days ago I visited Martha Tessmer during my trip to Fresno, California. If you count this recent August trip, I have visited Martha and the support group she created for mothers whose children have died, the last five summers.
In the previous years, I met with many of the members of the Mother of an Angel Friendship Network. This year, I did not have the energy to call on the all the mothers of angels. During the last several months, I have needed to call mothers individually and seek their support.
Usually during September I process photos and publish blog posts. Perhaps it is time to reflect on all the photos and create a larger photo book. In recent years, I have written an article with a photo essay for a magazine. I also published a couple photo books. Each project feels insufficient, though important. Last year I visited with Martha and several of the mothers.… Read the rest
I knew about Nicole Wilson and her family before I met her or the Mother’s of an Angel Friendship Network. My wife and I heard a news report that we turned off, but we never forgot. I wondered how a family would ever move forward. I still wonder. My first child was almost the same age as Xander at the time and my wife was pregnant with our second child. Many families hear the story and wonder what we could do to help. The must be something we can do. Perhaps Xander’s Crossing will help families so that they never experience this.
Nicole and her family have also helped me learn a great deal about loss and healing. This first image illustrates how journalists can show tragedy from a different perspective. I am handing the camera to Nicole’s son so that he can photograph the journalists and other people at the event. I am still processing images and emotions… please feel free to provide comments, perspectives and condolences.… Read the rest
When I was visiting the Mothers of an Angel Friendship Network last week, I visited Clovis East High School on the first day of the 2012-2013 school year with Mary Minnette Sappington. Mary’s daughter Kim Hamilton is one of the students honored on the wall. Before Mary and I drove to Clovis East, we met at another memorial near the Highway 180 overpass. Mary feels especially connected to this location since it was the last place where Kimberly was alive.
Mary is a member of the support group Mother of an Angel Friendship Network. On Monday August 20, 2012, I photographed Mary, Mary’s son and Martha Tessmer. Martha organized the support group and this is my fourth year photographing the families. Today is also Mary’s birthday.
NOTE: On December 3rd, as I was scrolling through my photo archive of Mary and other mothers, I remembered a recent online conversation between Mary and a few mothers. I contacted Mary and asked her to post comments below about safety changes for state highway workers in California.… Read the rest