Why family photos are a legacy..

My husband and I ventured back to Indiana, from Texas, this past August {2016} after he was retired out of the army. Unexpectedly, I found myself back in my hometown of Greenfield, IN - I got busy reconnecting with friends and family, one of whom was my old high school bestie who I hadn't seen in years! At the beginning of September, just days later, her family learned that her dad, Dave, had a brain tumor.

Dave had been battling other health issues for a while when some new symptoms prompted a head CT. Shannon's family was devastated, understandably, but being the tight-knit family that they are, they gathered strength in their numbers and leaned on one another. Scheduling family photos had been stalled, while another family member struggled to make the time commitment - so I decided to make them a deal. Because I felt it was SO important for them to not waste any more time, I would take their family portraits for them THEN if they were able to get her there for photos in the future, I'd do them again, pro bono! No cost. No strings. Let's do it.

They agreed & we quickly worked out a date to get their family photos taken before he started his treatment and had to prepare for brain surgery to remove the tumor.

Being that Dave was already weak and was having trouble with his balance, the session would be very tiring, even before he started treatment. The family was able to make it work just one day prior to his initial treatment. With it being such short notice, I was pleasantly surprised with all their coordinated outfits - perfectly coordinated and accessorized without being too matchy-matchy! {This makes photographers very happy}

We were able to photograph all the littles (the small children) and individual family units before Dave came out to join us. His wife, Diane, helped steady him down the small slope into the grassy field. It was an unseasonably warm fall day, and the sun was setting behind a grouping of trees, a brimming creek and a gorgeous weeping willow. His cane sunk slightly into the grass, due to said brimming creek - after days of rain. It was like all the pieces fell perfectly together to allow the Edwards' family to create a family portrait to cherish. I was so honored to be a part of creating a legacy in photos for them.

I grew up with this family. I called Diane 'mom' and Shannon called my mom 'mom.' We were both the new kids in 8th grade and became the "two Shannons" in Jr High and High School. I know how much family means to them... Within a week of their family photos I got word that her dad had another area of tumors; these were inoperable. They would have to do radiation for the new tumors and the initial surgery was put on hold.

By the end of September, the doctors determined that the prognosis was not good and delivered the news that he may only have until Christmas. Everything was happening so fast. I needed to get their images completed and delivered!! I sent her the photo gallery to share with her family. We had a couple prints made of the grandkids for Dave to keep in a frame. Resilient as ever, their family kept up hope and tried to stay positive. They all gathered at the hospital, waiting for him to rally, and maybe at the same time simply praying for his peace and relief from pain.

On October 24, I got a phone call from Shannon asking if she could use one of the photos for his obituary; he had passed away early that morning. Many of the family photos from our session were displayed during the memorial. I couldn't stop thinking about the timing of me moving back in August, having photos done in September, and then time slipping away in a blink of an eye. My heart still aches as I type this and I have a wad of kleenex on my desk.. I take some comfort in the fact that I was able to provide them a moment that will be kept close to their hearts forever. Those are the reasons I'm a photographer. That is why I do all I can to make photos happen FOR my clients. That is why taking the time for family moments caught on "film" is so important.



Dave touched the lives of many friends, family members, acquaintances, and probably thousands of strangers whom we will never know. I have never been to a memorial or funeral service with so many people standing up to tell their stories about how he played a part in their lives. Story after story bringing bits of smiles through tears. The joy of the memories and the pain of loss. He will be missed. Below are some photos of the hot-rod procession. His friends and family broke out their muscle cars, hot-rods, and whatever fast, pretty, or loud cars they had to make it one to remember. I'm sure he couldn't have asked for a better send-off.

#family #portraits #Greenfield

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