Mom
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By Virginia Fioribello

Mom

By Virginia Fioribello


During my senior year of high school, my mother had her first mammogram. It all happened so gradually. There was a lump in her right breast, but it could be a cyst, or a benign tumor; she had had those before. The doctor’s voice was garbled. My mind grabbed at the hopeful words, and held on tightly. Then there was a biopsy, a diagnosis of stage IB breast cancer—and all of a sudden we were lost. The world had shifted, and we were the only ones who had felt it. At the time, I didn’t know what urged me to document my mother’s experience, but I allowed the camera to take it all in, shielding myself. When I helped her shave her head, short brown hair speckled with silver fell limp into the bathroom sink—a photograph. When her chest rose and fell as she dozed off during a round of chemotherapy—a photograph. Holding her hand, I prayed that this surgery, just moments away, would be the last—another photograph. My mother has now been in remission for three years. Our experiences have linked us to so many others in similar situations. It is important to share them, to encourage and to strengthen one another, to support and to love.

The series of photographs, simply titled “Mom,” was taken over three years, beginning in 2003.


To view the photograph that accompanies this text, please refer to the print magazine.