**trigger warning - pregnancy and child loss mentioned**
Usually I try to make my blog posts lighthearted and happy, but today's is a little bit different...well, actually it is much different. The past month or so has given me pause for thought. I have been thinking how I would write a blog post that deals with such a sensitive topic, but one that needs to be addressed nonetheless.
A little over a month ago I got a phone call from a client that I had done a maternity session for about a year prior, she was pregnant with her fourth child and wanted to schedule maternity pictures for this pregnancy as well. It was Friday when she called, and while I tried to reach out to her, I did not hear back until Monday when she called me again to ask me to instead photograph the funeral for her 4th child. My heart broke for her, and it broke even more as I had the unenviable honor of photographing a devastated family mourn the loss of their baby girl and bury her before they had even had a chance to get to know her. As hard as it was on me, I know it was a million times harder for that mother and father and my role was simply to capture this event they had with their daughter as a gift to hopefully help bring them peace in a time when they felt as though their world was falling apart.
More recently, a friend of mine lost her 20 month old son to cancer. We were part of the same mom's group that had been rooting for and praying for him to beat his rare form of cancer. We smiled with their successes and took hope in each of the pictures she posted of him smiling and of them together and we prayed like hell and cried when he had bad days and setbacks. In the 7 months he battled cancer, he spent a minimal amount of time outside of the hospital, so pictures and videos posted online were often a lifeline to the outside. Mother's Day morning, my friend wrote a post that I will never forget, her little boy had passed away the night before. Since then, she has shared pictures of him and his family, a reminder of better times when her heart wasn't shattered with the loss of her child.
I share these stories because photography is important, in so many forms. I pray that my photographs of that baby's funeral help to bring peace to her family. But these stories are also a reminder that it is important to be in pictures, take selfies with your family, friends, kids. Have professional portraits done, and BE IN THEM, print them out and display them. None of us knows when we will take our last breath, and none of us knows when we or someone we care about may only have pictures and memories to hold onto.