For 27 years, I took photographs as I waved good-bye and drove away from visiting my parents at their home in Sioux City, Iowa, USA. I started in 1991 with a quick snapshot, and I continued taking photographs with each departure. I never set out to make this series. I just took these photographs as a way to deal with the sadness of leaving. It gradually turned into our good-bye ritual. And it seemed natural to keep the camera busy, because I had been taking pictures every day while I was there. These photographs are part of a larger body of work I call Relative Moments, which has chronicled the lives of my parents and other relatives since 1986. When I discovered the series of accumulated “leaving and waving” photographs, I found a story about family, aging, and the sorrow of saying good-bye.
In 2009, there is a photograph where my father is no longer there. He passed away a few days after his 91st birthday. My mother continued to wave good-bye to me. Her face became more forlorn with my departures. In 2017, my mother had to move to assisted living. For a few months, I photographed the good-byes from her apartment door. In October of 2017 she passed away. When I left after her funeral, I took one more photograph, of the empty driveway. For the first time in my life, no one was waving back at me.