loud & clear | The Things We Lose

Lilacia Park in Lombard.
Lilacs in Lilacia Park.
Around this time last year, I took a trip to Chicago for my best friend Laura’s bridal shower. A few weeks before I left, my grandmother visited me in Portland and over lunch we talked about how excited I was to see the city. Grammy grew up just outside of Chicago, and she told me about going to Cubs games with her brothers and about her Dad taking the El from their little suburban town to his law office in the city.  Her town, called Lombard, was famous for their Lilacs. And, at the end of the season, there was a Lilac Parade and the crowing of a Lilac Queen.

When I arrived in Chicago, I told Laura this story as we drove out to her childhood home. With much surprise, on both our parts, it turned out that Lombard is just one town over from her own (They even share a high school - which both my grandmother and Laura attended, all be it about five decades apart!)

So, the next afternoon Laura took me to Lilacia Park, right in the center of Lombard. It was one of those funny full-circle moments that make life feel unexpected and predictable - all at once. 

Each may, I look forward to the Lilacs blooming because they remind me of my mother. Each Spring, she would put bunches of them on every end-table and counter top in our house. My essay for Equals Record this week is about how they make me feel close to her and about the slow process of learning to see your parents as people. 

"It’s a different kind of hurt, as I’ve grown older, to lose a person—not just the figure of my mother. I wish I knew how she was funny or how she was sad; if there were things she lost that she never stopped missing."

It was only after my trip to lilacs that I realized the lineage and the place that connects us all. I think of my mother, remembering her own mother standing with clippers in her childhood backyard. Grammy is trimming off the lilacs and thinking of Lilacia Park.

(photos) on film with Pentax K1000 | Lilacia Park in Lombard, IL


  1. This (& your fully essay) are beautiful. I admire you for so many things, but especially for your bravery and grace.

  2. The relation you've grown with the lilies is beautiful. How these things can bring back memories of happiness and love.
    Understanding that your parents are humans too is the most difficult realisation. The world finds a new reality because of it.

  3. So beautiful! Lilacs are very special to me too, they are also my mother's favorite flowers.

  4. Such a beautiful story (and beautiful pictures). I can almost smell the lilacs! :)

  5. My aunt uncle and cousins live there and that's where my gma lived when she died!!! Small world!

  6. this is a beautiful post. my mother passed away when i was in high school, so i often wonder what she would have been like now. i wonder about the things that made her really human. i love seeing my friends and their families and am blessed to be an "honorary member" of many. there is such beauty in getting to know a parent as a person, and to see how those relationships change. love your blog and photos. happy summer shooting! xo | www.lookalittlecloser.com/blog


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