When I think about my job and the impact it can have on people's lives, I wouldn't be able to do it if I didn't think it had meaning. People trust me with their most intimate moments and feelings. They trust me to document them and to be apart of their lives, even if it is only for one day. I cherish my job, and there isn't a day that goes by that I am not grateful and don't take the responsibility I have been given seriously. Sure I like to make beautiful images, but I know that the real impact in my work is in the moments I am able to capture, the feelings I am able to portray, and the precious memories I am able to give every single person who steps in front of my camera.
I have shared Kristen and Sean's story on my blog when I photographed their engagement photos and wedding. Sean was diagnosed with brain cancer within 2 months of getting engaged to Kristen. They fought very hard together to keep the cancer from spreading or getting worse. For a few months, they were very successful. They bought a house together, had great careers, and enjoyed their fur baby family.
When I got the email from Kristen letting me know Sean wasn't doing well, that his cancer had worsened and that he was given a small window of time, my heart sank. It wasn't that I was naive that this could happen, it was that I hoped so much that it wouldn't. They are young and have fought so damn hard. Kristen told me that Sean asked her if she had enough pictures of the two of them, how thoughtful of him. Of course Kristen said no and asked if I would come over to snap some casual photos of them together at home. I was more than happy to do this for them.
When I got to the house I didn't know what to expect. I was around 7 months pregnant, and I did not want my emotions to get out of control. It wasn't like that at all. Sean looked great. He needed help getting around, but he still had that beautiful, vibrant spirit I was able to see each time I photographed him. We joked a lot and he smiled so much. He looked at Kristen with those same loving eyes I had seen the first time I met him. It was very touching to witness.
Sean passed away December 8, 2015 at his home surrounded by Kristen's love. He fought so hard, it was very sad to see the news of his passing. But, I know he is now at peace, and we have to find comfort in that. I encourage each of you who is reading this blog to take time everyday to appreciate the love in your life, not because it could be gone tomorrow, but because it is here today. Live in the moment, let your worries fade. There is no better time than now to accept love, to give love, and to appreciate the life you are given. We aren't ever sure how how much or how little time we have with the people who mean so much to us. What you do with it is up to you. The impact you make on other people's hearts is your legacy. We need each other to heal and to grow. My heart has been so heavy for Kristen. Today, as she says her final goodbyes to her husband, I hope she is surrounded by peace and is able to someday heal from her loss. She has handled every day with such strength. She comforted her husband through sickness and health. The vows she took were sincere. I admire her greatly.
This is my favorite picture of Sean from that day. Look at that spirit in his eyes. He was a very warm, compassionate person. I am happy to have had the chance to get to know him. Kristen took time off of work to comfort and take care of Sean. She slept right beside him every night. Their sweet family. Sean's best friend Scott was there to help Kristen take care of Sean. He absolutely adored her. And she took such good care of him.