In the past two and a half years, I’ve learned more than ever about love, life, and what’s truly important in this world. 2016 was a life-changing year in more ways than one. On July 6, my husband, two step kids and I celebrated the birth of our beautiful daughter. And three months later, my loving husband/their loving dad unexpectedly left this world.
It is in some of our darkest times, however, that we can see the brightest lights. My husband lived a life of seemingly small, but incredibly meaningful acts of love. He connected with people every single day through the simplest gestures, like taking the time to chat with the gas station and grocery store clerks, just to let them know that they mattered, and regularly calling random age-old friends just to say Hi. He made everyone feel seen and valued, and told people regularly not only that he loved them, but WHAT he loved about them. His passing opened my eyes to two life-changing realizations:
1- How powerful and meaningful very simple acts of love can be to those around us.
2- How much goodness there is in the world. The outpouring of unexpected kindness, generosity and support that I’ve received since his passing, not only from friends and family, but from distant acquaintances and strangers; and most recently from Mentors, have lit the fire of my new mission in life.
I now live by the principle that life and love are unpredictable gifts to be cherished every day. My most prized possessions, hands down, are my memories and hence, my photos. One of my only regrets is that despite my husband’s urging, we never commissioned a professional portrait. And now we’ll never have that opportunity.
I’ve embarked upon a new career as a photographer. Though my work, I strive to capture the unique and special love within families, and to give them beautiful visual reminders to cherish forever, no matter what tomorrow brings. I now know that a family portrait is so much more than a mere photo. It is a daily reminder of what’s important in life: love.
The generosity of Mentors has helped me to offset the costs of starting a new business and keep my prices affordable to provide services for families who, like my former self, might not be able to afford, or recognize the irreplaceable worth of a professional family photo. It’s enabled me to bring a little light into some of my clients’ most difficult times: the joy within a newly divorced mom’s new family unit, the love amongst a family whose father is beginning a 5-month deployment to the Middle East, the special bond between an autistic son and his mother. It’s also allowed me to celebrate some of my clients’ happiest times: the birth of a new baby, the adoption of a son, a high school graduation, the first day of kindergarten.
I’d like to thank Mentors for helping me to make a difference, one family at a time, and to carry on my husband’s legacy of bringing love and joy into the lives of others, one simple act at a time.