When we came across ‘The Lola Diaries,‘ we were instantly touched by the story of a family sticking together and caring for their ailing mother Pacita, better known as Lola. Bunn, Lola’s daughter-in-law, tells the story of love, struggle and ultimately loss through the photography of ‘The Lola Diaries.’ Bunn and her husband have cared for Lola since she suffered a stroke in 2007, that left her living with dementia. Their goal was to care for her full time, because being in a care home facility was not an option for the family anymore.
I know we usually feature women that are inspiring in some way but I’m going to bend the theme a little and feature this amazingly strong family. Because, honestly, what’s more inspiring than a family banding together and caring for each other?
Bunn left her job in the corporate world to help her husband, Romie, care for Lola full time. She already had a successful photography business, photographing families. But it never occurred to her to turn the camera to her own family until a hospital stay that scared them greatly. Lola had fallen and suffered a head injury. Bunn knew she had to document the feelings of this situation. Through the good and bad, happy and sad; the photos show how beautiful the love of family is.
I now know what true love is, what it means to be unconditionally loved. I’ve seen it with my own eyes every single day. It’s not perfect, it’s a roller coaster of emotions: the good, the bad, and the ugly. But, altogether they make you the person you are.
Lola was married to her first and only love who died in 2000, leaving her a widow for the remainder of her life. She kept her focus on her family. Travel was something she enjoyed and continued to do with Bunn and Romie aswell. Traveling to the Philippines often to visit family. Romie worked hard to be able to take Lola on trips and let her experience all she could. Even as her health declined traveling was important to Lola. They are moments cherished by Romie and Bunn.
In late March, Lola had to be hospitalized but Bunn and Romie never left her side. Her health continued to decline and had to be put on hospice care. The world lost Lola in early April, but the lesson of love and strength will live on in her family, the people who followed her journey through ‘The Lola Diaries,’ and the photos themselves.
When I asked Bunn who inspired her, she wasn’t sure at first. Taking time to reflect, she answered “Romie.” Saying, “I am not speaking as his wife, but as someone who has watched him selflessly put his life on hold to take care of his mother’s needs with such dedication and affection. He tried every day to help her live a quality life without emphasis on her dementia; it was only about keeping her legacy as Lola, Gramma, Nanay, Mom, Mama or Pacita. She was all of this to us and more.”