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Weekend: Mishka Update


When I went home to Florida last weekend, I thought a lot about Mark Twain and his views on living in real time. Before his famed titles The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, Twain was a travel writer, but instead of recording what happened as it happened, he wrote later. “I would not have fooled away any of it writing letters,” is what he penned during a journey to Hawaii.

I’m a bona fide shutterbug – I see life in photographs – but this trip was different. I found out Mishka, the woman who taught me to sew, the woman who has ripped out so many of my sleeves and the woman who calls me her second daughter, has cancer. My priorities changed when I saw how cancer and chemotherapy devastated my mom’s body and took her life, and it happened again this weekend when I heard Mishka is sick. Once again, I realized that life is too short and can be cruel. I only want to surround myself with the people and the things that matter. Sewing is one of them, and my family, Mishka included, is another. Despite the torment she is going through, one thing has remained unchanged – her spirit and courage. She still goes to the shop ever morning, bald, to sew. Isn’t that incredible?

So this weekend, I broke away from our reportorial obsession to capture this very moment. The only moments I photographed where the ones I was specifically asked to – my brother’s 29th birthday party, dubbed Jamesapalooza. The rest of the time, I did exactly what Mathew McConaughey said to do, “L-I-V-I-N.”


  1. Reply


    I’m so sorry to read that Mishka is not well. I know that under that lacey, blush bra is one strong woman, but my heart goes out to you.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Thank you.

  2. Reply


    This makes me sad….my father passed suddenly from cancer almost four years ago. Tears come so easily when I think of that time and when I hear of others who have lost loved ones, or of those who are in the midst of it. To me, it still seems like just yesterday. I pray that God will heal Mishka and that we never lose sight of every moment. Love always prevails no matter what…it is the ever present glue that keeps us.

    • Reply

      Maddie Flanigan

      Thank you. I agree that love is what prevails and is the glue that keeps my sanity together.

  3. Reply

    juju calado gago

    I wish her much strength and light, and I send her my love too. life is much fragile, and sometimes really cruel, but it is all about how we manage to go through. As you speak of her I am sure she is always joyous, loving and loved!
    my best wishes for you all in such a delicate period! <3

  4. Reply


    I’m really sorry to hear about Mishka. I’m thinking of you and her and I’ll light a candle for her.

  5. Reply


    Maddie, so sorry to hear about your beloved Mishka. I will be praying for her and for you. May the One who gives life hold you close in His arms.

  6. Reply

    Lady ID

    Maddie, sorry to hear this news:/ I’m praying for God to help Mishka and her family (including you) through this time.

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