To Be Thankful

November 23, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

IMG_9790© Bill Rush Like I've said before, to me photography is all about moments, and this was one of the most beautiful moments of my life. I talked in my last blog entry about using cameras as time machines, and this is a moment I'm so grateful I had the ol' Delorean ready for, this one takes me back to October 2, 2011. My mom, the woman to whom I owe my photography career and everything else in my life, sits on the deck of the Steamboat Natchez. This was one of her many bucket list items I was lucky enough to share with her. This Thanksgiving, my mom is no longer with me, but I'm thankful not only for the time I spent with her but for the time machine that makes it possible to revisit these moments with her whenever I choose.

With mom's health quickly failing due to total renal failure, we made the trip to New Orleans for a national conference of kidney patients and doctors, learning about new dialysis breakthroughs that could extend and improve her quality of life. When we left for the trip, my manager informed me he would not approve of my time off and it may cost me my job if I choose to go. Needless to say, this was not a choice, this was my mother. With her health rapidly failing in her final years, we had grown used to performing a delicate dance between work, doctors, surgeries, and dreams come true. As mom used to say, if you're going to work this hard to stay alive, you damn well better make it worthwhile. And so, sick as she was, we not only made it to the conference and met with the Nexstage doctors, we also made it to a little jazz club just off Bourbon Street, we shared a Muffaletta from Central grocery and beignets from Cafe Du Monde, we toured the cemeteries, and we took that cruise on the last true steamer in New Orleans, the Steamboat Natchez.

During the cruise, I went for a walk, toured the boiler room, the giant steam engine, the incredible craftsmanship of this old steamer, and returned to find mother sitting there peacefully, just taking in all the beauty around her - from the deck of a steamer...on the Mighty Mississippi. I became an artist because of my mom. So often people don't understand how I could have been inspired to do what I do because of a blind woman. When you realize how my mother saw the world, how could I have ever become anyone else?


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