Jennifer Loeber: Memories of Mom

Reading the Sunday paper is somewhat of a week-long exercise for me these days, one completed in fits and bursts, typically sandwiched within breastfeeding sessions or between the various housekeeping tasks involved in bringing our living room cum baby care headquarters into some semblance of (temporary) order.

I usually muscle through the “important” newsy sections first, mentally bucking at each fatalistic headline, much like my five-year old self did when facing the reluctant necessity of a dose of cough syrup during cold season. This somewhat masochistic approach leaves me with the tasty bits to savor last: Calendar (fall movie previews!), Image (fall fashion previews!), and Arts & Books (horoscopes and a bunch of books I’ll never get around to reading!).

Which is where I came across Brooklyn photographer Jennifer Loeber and her photographic eulogy to her mother’s memory titled “Left Behind.” From the L.A. Times interview (September 7, 2014):”Sifting through decades of family photos for a slideshow at my mom’s memorial service, combined with helping my dad clean out her closet, planted the original seed of an idea. I’m already nostalgic under the happiest of circumstances, so dealing with a parent’s death ratcheted that impulse way up. I kept bags and bags of her possessions without knowing what I was going to do with them in my one-bedroom Brooklyn apartment. Shoving everything into a closet worked for a while, but I started to feel sad every time I reached for a roll of paper towels and saw her things sitting there.

At some point I realized I had to engage with her belongings in some sort of cathartic way or they were going to continue to be a source of haunting gloom instead of joyous memories.”

Ms. Loeber’s reverence for both her mother’s memory and her personal possessions is a story that the little girl in all of us can relate to, evoking fond memories of the countless times we watched our mother’s elaborate make-up rituals or click-clacked around the house in her too-big high heels. Read the full interview to learn more about Ms. Loeber’s unique grieving process and the spunky fashionista that was her mother.

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