This photo was taken by Embry’s mother during one of Embry’s bouts with illness. Embry’s mother was already dying of cancer when this photo was taken. Embry was prone to febrile seizures and with a fever of 104+, too weak to walk, her mother had just given her a sponge bath and placed her on the master bed. She had been ill for quite some time and had suffered substantial weight loss. At this point, her belly was distended and she could not eat. She spent over a week sleeping in the master bed with her mother. Even though her mother was sick with cancer and her immune system was compromised, she would not leave Embry’s side or let her be alone at any time. Fern can be seen in the lower right corner. She was using her play dishes in an attempt to feed Embry M&M’s. Embry’s father can be seen resting on the sofa which was placed against the wall in the master bedroom so the girls could be close to their mother when she was too ill to get out of bed. Embry and Fern often slept together on the sofa. During this particular illness, Embry’s mother became very afraid that something was seriously wrong with her. Embry remembers her mother crying as she bathed her. After she was bathed and dressed, her mother retrieved her camera and told Embry she wanted to take her picture. She asked Embry to smile, but she was simply too weak. The taking of the photo was confusing to her but later her mother explained to her that she was afraid she (Embry) may not make it.
This particular bout with illness was similar to the illnesses experienced by Embry in the chapter titled, “Unraveling” from AHR Book II, only then, her mother would not be there to care for her.