A Family’s First Mother’s Day Without Their Mother

“With great power, comes great responsibility.”

Sure, it may have been said by a comic book uncle, but it still rings true nonetheless. And it holds true for photographers. Sometimes we take the very last professional pictures of people before they leave us. That’s a big responsibility. And this is the story of one such case.

On August 30, 2015, I had the pleasure of being the wedding photographer for Debbie and Fletcher.


Debbie found me because my Aunt, a best friend of Debbie’s sister, Missy, recommended me. Of course, like with all weddings, we took family photos.


But little did we know, not even a year later, one member of Missy and Debbie’s family would no longer be with us.


On August 14, 2016 — not even a year after Debbie and Fletcher were married — their mom, Dee, passed away.

This will be their first Mother’s Day without her.

I reached out to the sisters to ask if I could share their mom’s story. Even though she’s not physically here with us anymore, what better way to honor Dee for Mother’s Day than sharing some stories of her life legacy straight from two of her children?


Missy (above, middle):

“My mom was the most selfless person. She always found the blessing in every situation she was in. She loved everyone and never met a stranger.”

I also asked for any fun stories about their Mom — 

“She used to switch things around in her sentences. A big one was when they owned the bowling alley. She would tell us girls, ‘Go put the door on the board!’ It’s supposed to be ‘put the board on the door.’ She would mix our names together, like: Belissa, MisDebbie, Debussy and then would say: ‘You know what your f!@#ing name is, just get over here!'”

Also, apparently Dee wasn’t much into being ladylike —

“She never held back a fart. The 1st time Chad and I went on vacation, she was sitting at a picnic table and lifted up her leg and ripped one. She told Chad ‘welcome to the family!'”

“My mom loved to fish, loved their boat, and loved to go gambling — but most of all she loved her family.”


Debbie (above, the bride):

Debbie told me her mother was not a dress person. She could actually tell me all the times she saw her mom in a dress:

  • Her wedding day on March 8, 1980
  • Missy’s wedding
  • Debbie’s wedding

Even on her own 25th wedding anniversary, Dee wore jeans.

“I had to go dress shopping with her for my wedding. She wouldn’t take off her pants, and she would laugh at every dress. So, Destiny [Debbie’s daughter] and I had great laughs.”

They finally found “the” dress for her mom. Although, even a dress couldn’t stop her from being a goofball.


“She actually looked like an angel. My dad loved it on her.”

Dee left behind grandchildren ages 2-21. All of them inherited something from her — making the “ahhh” sound after taking a drink. You know …

*sip, slurp*



More From Debbie:

“I am named after my mom. I am Debra Deanna and she was Deana Dee, and my daughter Destiny is Destiny Deanna.”

“She was our best friend the greatest woman. … She had to leave first because LADIES ARE FIRST. … I miss her with all my heart, and I am blessed I got to share my wedding day with my parents. You took beautiful pics of them with all of us.

As if by fate, not long after Dee left, so did her husband of more than 30 years.


So, while it’s their family’s first Mother’s Day without their mom, I am glad I was able to help pay tribute to her.

If you are lucky enough to still have your mother here this holiday — give her a big hug.

You never know when it’s going to be the last kiss, the last phone call, or the last photograph.

I send my love to Missy, Debbie, and everyone thinking about Dee this upcoming weekend.



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