The Yellow Sea: Photographing Hope and Strength

Photogrief / Photogrief : Eleanor Haley

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photographing hope and strength

by Kimberly Hochrein

The window for blooming sunflowers is small…like the window of time we have when a loved one is diagnosed with Cancer.  We can only hope that God blesses us with another season filled with blooms.

After my mom was diagnosed with stage 4 triple negative breast cancer, I was determined that we were going to surrive this.  Treatments came and went,  but the disease did not.

In the midst of the chaos I tried to “live fast.”  I felt we had to hurry up and experience, see, and feel all that we might miss in life.  A year prior on my way to work, I witnessed one of the most beautiful sights when I passed by a field of sunflowers in bloom. I was determined that my mother would see the same.

I gathered my sisters, my son, and nephew along with my very tired mom and we headed to the field, only to find when we got that there the farmer had planted corn this year!
Frantically, I searched for another location with blooming flowers, fearing that we missed the window.  Thankfully, we hadn’t!

This would sadly be the first and last time I would share the beauty of the yellow sea with my mom.  I couldn’t take enough photos, I wanted to capture the beauty of the moment and etch the memory in my mind forever.   There was one sunflower that stood taller than the others; strong against the wind, alone but surrounded.   This flower was my mom.  The sunflower field will forever be a holy place for me, one which I will return to every season to reflect on the strength my mom showed me that day in the Yellow Sea.

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