A few weeks ago, on my Facebook Fanpage, I felt the need to give away a FREE family session. The participants only needed to email me with their story and a photo, and at the end of the contest, my sweet kids and I would pick a winner.
(For the record, I am constantly getting the urge to have specials and give aways and discounts….so, become a FAN on facebook and watch those specials!)
I’ve seen a lot of death and cancer and hospice lately, and I always hope they have an amazing family portrait to leave behind. So this prompted the give away on facebook.
I received an email from a very unlikely candidate: my sweet blog friend, Rachel. It wasn’t that she didn’t have a need, here are a couple of parts from her letter:
Last week, my Mother-in-Love was diagnosed with a grade 4 tumor. She has brain cancer, the worst kind.
I remember crying through your posts about God healing your mom (I cry a lot, don’t I?), and I know you understand how our lives have been turned upside down over the possibility of losing a woman we love very much.
Two days after the diagnosis, I realized that it had been forever since family pictures had been taken. In fact, I think it was well over a decade ago, that Mom and her siblings had done the good old 80’s Olan Mills session.
What breaks my heart, is that in considering her treatment options, my Mother-in-Love had to realize that she would lose her hair. The utter disappointment on her face was devastating. Nearly 80 years old, and losing your hair. It wasn’t vanity – but just another personal thing taken away by cancer. And in these next few weeks and months of treatment, I worry about the opportunities for family photos. Worry about her feeling well and getting the chance to make these memories.
She has a very deep need….the only problem is: SHE LIVES IN WASHINGTON STATE!
But that letter ended with: if she is chosen as the winner, they will fly me up there.
So, last weekend, away I flew, complete with my oldest son in tow, to states I have never been before, to a ‘stranger’ I had never met before, to do family portraits for some of the wildest, most loving, amazing people out there!
Their desire wasn’t only for the pretty, posed photos of all of the siblings together again….they wanted the laughter, the pranks, the silliness….and those touching moments that make life bearable.
(someone may or MAY NOT have been pinching the other on the down under…. 😉 )
They wanted memories of healthy days, lazy days…..days just being together.
The wanted the everyday. Not the perfect. Just the every day. The great grandsons running to meet their great grandma with a hug and a kiss. The great grandaughters having a chuckle….just like always.
The beautiful posed photos happened of families with family, and the wonderful image of a beautiful, very loved matriarch.
She was, afterall, the entire reason for the trip. But when all is said and done, what they wanted was the normal…..the memories of the common occurance. And that is what I captured.
But what I hadn’t planned on….was leaving there loving them all too.
What an amazing family. Congratulations to the Grayless family for being a wonderful example of a loving family. Our prayers are with you Mama Grayless.