I've talked about capturing lifes beginnings, whether it be unions via marriage or the birth of a new child and what the opportunity to capture these moments mean to me. I have yet to share my thoughts and feelings about the flipside. When lives come full circle and people that we love move on from this world. When we are faced with the every so impossibly hard feat of saying, “goodbye.”
The forefront of my life these days has been the juggle of being a new mother, renovating my home, helping my dog during the transition of an added family member, running a business, and mourning the loss of a very close and very beloved friend. As I grow in age, I've come to learn that saying the ultimate “goodbye” fails to get easier but almost harder. It's no longer the expected deaths of our beloved, aged and long lived grandparents that I face but that of friends, people my own age... younger. Fear of losing my parents. Fear that my three month old son who sleeps peacefully in the room next door has taken his last breath because I haven't heard a toss or a whimper in over an hour through the top of the line audio monitor and video surveillance system we spent months researching.
My trade and passion not only allow me the benefit of capturing the first days of a young child but also the last days of ones life. Whether it be photographing and partaking in the beautiful union of a handful of people encircling a mother figure who literally lays on her death bed as her exhausted body can take no more from her uphill battle fighting Cancer. Encountering the 8x10 headshot of a father figure and former co-worker that I captured years ago which now welcomes you as it takes all you can muster to lift foot past the threshold of a funeral home. Editing another photographers work, to remove other subjects from a photograph so as to leave behind an image of your friends mother (who just passed) who in its rare form, is actually sharing an authentic smile with a camera. Rummaging through the archive of decades worth of work to hand select the perfect image for a wake of the iconic local legend, Dancing Larry or the well loved father, grandfather & husband of a former schoolmates family who you photographed a couple of years ago during her visit home.
As with every image I take, my heart is present in those moments. I understand the importrance of the end result. A mere photograph? No. A tangiable, irreplacable gem that reminds you of the love, of a specific memory, of all of the memories, of the your fathers quirky smile, of the old stove grandma used to bake all of your birthday cakes in. An artifact that will live beyond the life of person you just lost and live beyond your very own life. A keepsake that proves that what you expierenced was real. A relic that, unlike memories, will never fade.
This may be the only blog post that, I, a Photographer posting from my photography website, may share with zero images included. I do this because I want you to take this moment to reflect upon the favorite memories you have of your loved ones who have passed and insert those mental images in the empty frame below.