We All Got Bruises – Mothers of Angels

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.

Martha Tessmer started the Mother of an Angel Friendship Network after her teenage son Donovan died in a distracted driving car accident. The support group is for mothers who have lost a child to death. (bryan farley)

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.

Martha Tessmer, the Founder of Mother of an Angel Friendship Network, has not been able to attend movies since her son Donovan died in a distracted driving accident. (bryan farley)

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. You can view more photo galleries at the link here. I attended another event in the San Jose area. In previous years, I have photographed mothers at my friend’s tattoo shop too.

Martha Tessmer and Kelly Browning of Impact Teen Drivers present to Hawyward High Students on Wednesday, December 7, 2011. (bryan farley)

I have followed Martha to high schools when she presented near my Oakland home.

Solaiman Nuri, 41, and Hadessa Nuri, 9, of Concord were killed on Saturday April 7, 2012 while riding bicycles when a teenager drove onto the sidewalk and hit them. The family attended a press conference in Sacramento, California later the same month. (bryan farley)

When the state and national distracted driving organizations held and event in Sacramento, I attended with my camera. I have met many people who are on the path less traveled or at least unexpected.

Someone once asked me how I could take photographs and remain humble. (When I look at the photos above the question seems like a joke, but I believe the friend was sincere.) I just take pictures. Imagery can change how we see something, but people matter more than pictures.

Recently, the people I photographed mattered when I needed help… and to think, I started this project to help others.

2 Responses to “We All Got Bruises – Mothers of Angels”

  1. Bryan Farley says:

    Martha Tessmer, I thought that I had posted this to FB earlier… I am forever grateful to you and all your group for allowing me into your network. You have shown me much compassion, often by your kindness to each other, as well as to me. Thank you to those who helped me this last year, even when you did not know you were doing so.

  2. Karen Clark says:

    Love the word and pictures, Bryan. Sometimes those we show up to help end up by showing us how much help we need instead. It’s called humanity. Soak it in. It will get you past the storms in life 🙂