Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Maria.

Back in February, I was invited to photograph friends here and was truly touched because ... but there's a story, of course.

Hugo and Maria are friends of Gert's and had accepted me into their world as an extension of Gert, and so it went ...

Married for 46 years, Maria had spent the last 17 years fighting an extraordinarily brave fight against breast cancer, surviving each crisis of health, in recent years actually confounding doctors who didn't see how it was possible for her to return from the places the cancer sometimes took her.

I was in Cairo when she died last week and it was with some sadness I returned for the funeral, feeling it more than any before because her fight strongly reminded me of losing my mother.

That Maria was special was surely seen in the huge numbers of people in church this morning, and further proven by the fact we stayed for the full catholic service in the big old stone cathedral despite a broken heating system on a cold winter day.

The February photo session had been full of grace on her part because she felt she was no longer beautiful. There was something so special about her allowing me attempt to show her the beauty I saw in her.

This morning I discovered this photograph we had created together on the front of the small in memory of card handed out at the service - her absence so visible in that space next to Hugo, the place we are all so used to seeing her.

She was truly stunning when she was young but so many years later, I can still see so much beauty in this woman, briefly captured as she was, in a small space between battles.

9 comments:

Barbara said...

Oh, she is so heartbreakingly beautiful in the photo, beyond words. My condolences to you on the passing of such a friend.

paris parfait said...

Yes, she was beautiful, as your photograph proves. How very sad to experience this great loss. My sympathies to you and Gert and Maria's family. xoxox

Manictastic said...

Seventeen years of battle? My god, what a strong woman she must have been. It's always sad to lose a friend. My condolences, Di!

christina said...

Very, very beautiful indeed. I'm so sorry.

jfrancis said...

Age will mar the surface,
yet beauty lingers in the spirit.

Lydia said...

This is one of the most beautiful and touching posts I've seen, which certainly describes your friend. My sympathy to you in her loss.

RD said...

What an amazing battle. You can see in her beautiful face how fearless and strong she was. I'm very sorry you lost a friend like this. This is a lovely tribute to her.

Deadlyjelly said...

She was beautiful. Your words bring across how extraordinary Maria was also x

V-Grrrl said...

There is something both warm and fierce in her face, in the blaze of her eyes and her beautiful silver hair. And look at those hands--still lovely.

And married for 46 years? There's enormous strength there too.