She’s So Brave – Deborah Phillips
So, if you want to state your name and age?
My name is Deborah Phillips and I’m 56 years old.
Wonderful. And where are you in your life right now? What do you do for work and what’s going on in your life?
I am 8 years from retirement. I am working for Discovery House, and plan to retire with them.
Oh wow, beautiful. So how long have you been with Discovery House?
I’m going into my eighth year.
And what do you do (there)?
I actually just changed roles, and I’m a child and youth care case manager.
That must be tough.
It can be at times.
So what did you do before that?
I’ve been a registered social worker for about 23 years, so before working with Discovery House I worked for Health Services.
And what made you make the switch?
Tragedy struck my life and I needed time off.
Would you like to share your story of bravery?
There is a moment of silence while Deborah takes a breath.
On November 27th, ten years ago, my daughter died from cancer at 25 years old.
It was a hard battle, for almost two years.
Do you have other kids?
I have a son.
Was she his older sister?
She was the youngest. He was 28 at the time.
We talk about life after her daughter’s passing.
I took ten months off, kind of just looked after myself. I engaged in (therapy), and looked for something new, something different.
What did it change in yourself?
It took some time. I actually turned into an alcoholic… so for seven years I drank. Almost four years ago I (realized) I’d promised my daughter to live my life in her honour and I wasn’t doing a very good job of that. So instead of running away from a parent’s worst fear, I embraced it, and decided to create a healthy life for myself.
So what do you carry forward, how has it changed your outlook?
I look at things now, in a (different) way. I feel very grateful that I was with her when she was born, and I was with her when she died. I think about the good times, and how she would want me to live my life. I celebrate her life by living in her honor and doing things she would enjoy and things we would enjoy together.
What kind of things?
We all laugh.
Camping, spending time with family, barbeques…
Those are all the things she liked?
And children. She just wanted to be a mother and never got the opportunity. You know, I’m a grandmother, and (I) make sure I do a really damn good job of it. And they know her. Even though some never got to meet her… they’ll still know her.
View the Online Gallery
An online gallery of all her images is available for the next 30 days. From the online gallery you are able to favourite images, order prints and share the gallery with your family and friends. The gallery can be accessed via the link below and you can contact Deborah directly for her secure password.
We are so fortunate to have had the opportunity to photograph Deborah for She’s So Brave and we thank her for sharing her story of bravery with us!
Images by Calgary Portrait Photographer JM Photography © 2017
Some of my Favourite Photos from Deborah’s Session
Deborah’s Portrait Session Details
Date | 10.20.17
Photos by Jeremy Martel
Editing by Kelly Anne Steel
Blog written by Jenna Anderson
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