A couple months ago I got a message from a lady I had not yet met. Tanya. She said “I am interested in family photos. It would be myself and 3 children. 16 months ago now my husband (the kids dad) passed away at the age of 41 – I’m not sure if there is any technology or if you have any ideas of how we could also do a couple symbolizing him with us too?” She said, “You tell stories with pictures and I have a unique story to tell.”
My heart was heavy with her grief. I know grief. I felt so deeply for this family and I wanted to be able to offer them something truly special to remember him by. These kids are young, I had my whole childhood and half my adult hood with my dad before he passed (too soon) but these kids did not (way too soon). To say they are going to feel that void for the rest of their lives is an understatement. Tanya is determined they are going forth in to the future with smiles and laughter and remembrance.
This is her story as I know it. Chad was an athletic, healthy man just entering his 40’s. He was emerged in the kids lives, their coach and mentor. Chad and Tanya (like many young parents) dreamed of the future together and what life would bring. They joked often about loving each other in to the next life, their love for each other was strong. There were no signs of sickness, and no one could have predicted how quickly it took him. Gall Bladder Cancer! I honestly couldn’t believe it when Tanya told me that is what Chad had because that is what my dad had as well….very rare “they” say. And it’s quick, so quick.
Our paths were meant to cross. I could only hope my concept was going to tell this story well.
Now they pick up the pieces and start down a new road they didn’t think they would be taking, I cried more tears over this session than I ever have, not surprising really I don’t get many stories like this one coming through the door, and frankly I am not sure my heart could take it. This is what I learned from this session, sometimes your talents are indeed gifts, this gift will bring to life their memories for the years to come. This family has become part of my soul, imprinted for ever as our stories have so many similarities. My hope is that over time they can heal together, I hope I told their story in portraits in a way that brings smiles to their hearts and helps them preserve their memories. I hope these art portraits give them ample opportunity to talk about Chad, remember the little things, the every day things, I hope everyone who enters their house asks about the portraits and gives them their listening ears. Every story they tell will become a stronger memory in their hearts. Here is their story in portraits: