I lost my dear Mother this week.
Shirley Joan Sebastian raised her 4 boys all on her own after her husband (my Father) died in 1977 at the age of 38 from heart disease.
After this devastating loss she overcame many hardships, and with much courage lived a long life.
When I was a youngster (and a very bad one at times, I'm sorry Mom) she was responsible for encouraging me to be artistic. She bought an SLR film camera when I was 14, a Praktica, which got me hooked on Photography. Soon after I was shooting weddings and had my own darkroom in the basement.
She also was responsible for giving my brothers and I our talents. Dan became a Maestro of Classical Guitar, Greg a Brass player, Mike a talented Guitarist and Drummer and me, also a Drummer and Classical guitarist.
I also inherited her love for animals, you name it, dogs, cats and nature (except for snakes, which would make her and her sisters run screaming!) We bonded many times with our pets, playing with them and walking them in Riverside Park in Preston, Cambridge.
Mom supported me when I went to College for Art & Design at Conestoga College. She actually worked in the School Cafeteria, so It was great to see her everyday (free food was a bonus!) Everyone enjoyed working alongside her and greeting "Shirley" for their coffee or lunch breaks.
She had courage, was strong and passionate and loved her family. She was always there during the tough times and we shared all our losses in life, helping each other accept that life was always in a constant state of change, and it goes on.
In the last few years, she became more of a recluse and quite anxious about her life and health, and concern for her kids was always on her mind.
When I told her I was going to Haiti to work after the earthquake in 2010, she said "Are you crazy - you're going to die!"
I almost did.
My Mom loved her husband Joe and often spoke of him fondly, even more so in the last few years.
She really did die of a broken heart.
Many years ago I found these deteriorating 8 mm movie reels in her basement in an old box. I digitized the footage and put together this beautiful video for her, knowing the fragility of life and love.
I love you Mom and I thank-you for your sacrifices, love, kindness, patience and giving of life. I truly believe you are in a better place now.
Your boys will always love and remember you.
Please click here for Shirley Joan Sebastian's Obituary - In accordance with tradition here in South America, a memorial service will be held on Monday, May 26th at La Iglesia San Pedro, La Paz, Bolivia.