I have thought alot about what I was going to say in this post, and a week later, I still don’t know where to start. So, I guess I will start at the beginning. Last summer I was contacted by Stephanie to have photos taken of her and her fiancee. She was coming to visit family from Wyoming, and they wanted to get some current photos of the two of them while they were here. See, Matt and Stephanie were soulmates, had known each other for 12 years, and while legally they were not married- in there eyes, they were. But now, all these years later they were going to do it for real- the wedding that everyone had wanted. After Stephanie got back to Wyoming, the wedding became one overwhelming BIG day- and more than either of them wanted, so they were going to elope- and do it THEIR way. I was so happy for them, the love, the anticipation of the new roads they would venture down together. Then Stephanie called to give me more good news- she was expecting a baby boy. Her and Matt did not think they could have children- a miracle it must be! The wedding was on hold, they wanted to wait till the new baby was here, so he could be part of the joyous day. Plans were pending, it was a perfect plan!
On December 6th, I got a call, a frantic call- at first I did not know who it was. When I re-listened to the message, I realized it was Stephanie, and something had happened to Matt… A smooth patch of black ice…thats all it was, and tragically it took Matts life. She had called me because I had the most recent pictures of Matt, and she needed them- needed them for the funeral, needed them for her, and needed them for the son she was carrying who would never know his daddy. I listened to her weep, and I weeped with her, my heart broke for all her pain, for her children’s pain, and for the road I knew she would travel, alone.
So, I kept tabs on her, making sure she knew that I was there, if she needed anyone, or anything- though what could I do? I felt hopeless…and at the same time, thankful. I had an enormous reminder how short life can be, how important it is to be thankful for everything you have, and to cherish the small things- a snuggle with your new baby, a story with your 6 year old before bed, a kiss from your loved one, a call from your brother- so small, so insignificant, but moments that when you add them all up- are your LIFE.
Stephanie came back again this summer, and we got together- to photograph her new beginning. Her son, born in June, was 8 weeks old, and well, he needed to be photographed, celebrated- cherished! I know this road has been a long one for Stephanie and her children, for all of Matt’s family. And truthfully, its just the beginning. But as I watched Stephanie with her new baby, and with her older children, I realized how poignant it all was. Not perfect, not the way she planned, or wanted, but her family. She is an amazing woman, taking on more than I can ever imagine. I know the road ahead is a long one, but from what I have seen of her, she will handle it with grace and poise, and in the end know that she did an amazing job! Stephanie, I want to say Thank You for being a blessing in my life, for all that you have given me, and for reminding me how important each day is. I hope to be half the mom you are, and I hope you know how proud I am of you, and how thankful I am to have you as a friend! I look forward to a lifetime of new memories.