The last 2 weeks have been pretty heavy at the Eternal Reflections office. It is no secret that we get close to most of our clients & follow each other’s lives. It absolutely breaks out hearts to find out that tragedy had fallen on some of their lives. Our hearts break, just as it would for any friend suffering such losses.
Last night I was sitting talking with my mom. I was laughing about how when we first got our video camera (it was the size of a small briefcase) my mom was often heard “move radelle. out of the way radelle” in the background. Now, its no secret that I LOVED being in front of the video camera & always had a song or dance to perform…and that im sure at times, it got a bit..um…much, as she was trying to capture footage of the other children. I mentioned that I noticed that she was always trying to get footage of my baby sister Krystal. My mom mentioned that she felt a certain panic to capture krystal as a baby, because just 2 years before, she had buried my 7 month old sister Nadine, who passed away from SIDS.
We never had a family photo of our family of 5.
After she passed away, my mom commissioned a talented photographer to create a composite picture (this was well before photoshop & I have no idea how he did it) of a family photo & work the most recent photo of Nadine into the photo, sitting on my mom’s lap. The resulting photo was fantastic, and brought our family much peace & joy. Nadine still was a part of our family, she was just waiting for us on the other side. But it still heart. My parents hearts ached for her. My little 3 year old heart knew what was going on & I remember crying for her while holding my strawberry shortcake doll tightly.
Sometimes, life can feel impossible.
Shortly after her passing, my mom bought a video camera & started videoing everything. When my sister Krystal came along (followed by kari, who many of you know and love as my ERP partner!), my mom wanted everything captured. Krystal was the first baby out of all of us to have a professional newborn baby shoot (not nearly as common 25 years ago as they are now).
I guess what I am trying to say (probably uneloquently), is that pictures do matter. Memories do matter. The pictures we have of my dad are among my most treasured memories. As are our home videos with his voice on them, as is his journal. It doesn’t bring them back, not even close, but it does somehow make you feel closer to them. To remember them. To feel their love.
I can watch a home video of my dad opening the craptastic gift that I hand made for him on his 37th birthday & when I see his fatherly fake enthusiasm over the gift and how special he made me feel over it, I literally feel his love all over again. And I need that. Because I miss him.
If you follow our blog at all, you know that one of our brides, Angel, suddenly lost her husband to a tragic fire. I cannot imagine her devestation. I spent an evening going through their wedding phtos & crying for her. One of her bridesmaids emailed and said that her wedding photos are bringing her incredible peace right now. I wanted to share a few moments from her photos with you. Most of them are images that I didn’t blog before, but ones that especially spoke to me now.
Down below that is a small collage of a darling angel little girl. This little girl was a flower girl in one of my Drayton Valley weddings this fall. She radiated. She beamed. She was a doll. She passed in January & my heart broke. I do not understand life. I dont not understand loss. I have no idea why my mom needed to bury both a daughter & a husband. It is heartbreaking. It is always an honor when people love your photos & use them and find value in them. My heart broke however when I found out that my photos were being used in the newspaper and in funeral handouts. When I took them, I had no idea they would ever be used in such a heartbreaking way. I am so honored that they were used. I always imagined that when they were looked at that they would bring joy. And now, they bring a different kind of joy to the viewer. The kind of joy, that is accompanied by tears.
Angel & Kirsten, you are in my deepest thoughts & prayers right now. Please know of my love & support.