I debated on whether to blog on Thanksgiving or not. Everyone is busy and hanging out with family and is there really any place for a photography blog in that? Then I looked at who was on the dock to be published today and realized that the Froyens and Thanksgiving go hand in hand.
A few months ago, Stacy’s dad passed away very suddenly. It was one of those situations where you don’t even know what to say because nothing will make it better or bring her dad back. Over the next month, I watched Stacy put her heart and soul into remembering her dad. She shared stories about him, gathered pictures of him, and even found his long-forgotten list of favorite songs. It all culminated into a beautiful Celebration of Life that was held at 80/20 Burger Bar in Norfolk (one of his favorite places).
Now, it’s going to sound funny, but Josh & I tend to get to know people through death. Weird, right? Music and photographs are comforting to people who are grieving, and we provide those, so it kind of goes hand in hand. This year we sang at a lady’s funeral. I didn’t know her surviving husband at the time, but now we have a great friendship. I also photograph for NILMDTS when infants pass away. This year one family happened to attend our church. Afterwards we’ve gotten to know each other and I love the blooming friendship forming! So yes, it’s weird to many people, but death brings unlikely friendships, and we embrace that.
Back to Stacy– I photographed her dad’s Celebration of Life event and it was awesome. People looking through photos, sharing stories of a great man, and eating some of his favorite foods. There is a recent and fantastic picture of her dad that was posted. It was taken by a professional photographer and Stacy mentioned how it was so funny– the photographer had twisted him around and made him laugh. In the moment, it felt so staged, but when they saw the final picture, it just looked like him. She cherishes that picture now. Sure– she has tons of photos to cherish (thankfully), and they all hold special meaning. There are pictures from his world travels, from when he was a kid, and pictures from when she was growing up… those are all incredibly special. But it’s also nice to have a really great picture of him looking like he did as she last remembers him. And his laugh.
No matter where you are in life, whether you’re overweight, or waiting on your hair to grow out, or waiting for the kids to grow up so they’ll actually sit still and smile for a picture, or you’re waiting for the weather to get warmer, or cooler… don’t wait. Don’t put off that family photo session. When you lose weight/grow your hair out/kids grow up, you can always have another photo session– it’ll be worth the money. But don’t forget to capture life as it is today. Life can come and go suddenly. Leave something for your family to hold on to– both memories and some pictures.
And if you’re the one who has lost someone, remember the memories, but also honor the memories that you’re making today. When you lose someone important, it makes everything hard. But remember that to someone else– YOU are that important person that they still have here.