Nearly two years ago, this family embarked on an incredible journey…. one that would bring them deep sadness, and in the end, overwhelming joy. In the past two years, Mike has battled some impossibly complicated medical issues related to his lungs that had him seen by doctor’s all over the country and in and out of hospitals. The more time that went by and testing that was done, it seemed there were more questions, and less answers. As his condition deteriorated quickly, Becky and I got in contact to plan a session for their family. Things weren’t looking good, and as we emailed back and forth, it was easy to read between the lines that we both really wanted to be sure that there were tangible, physical memories of Mike with his girls. As we got closer, Mike got sicker, and we postponed their session.
Becky and I belong to the same mom’s board, and with each update she posted, my heart grew heavier. Then, a week before Christmas, their family got the call of a miracle. A set of donor lungs for Mike had come available and he was whisked away via Lifestar to Colombia Hospital. Over the past six months, he’s become healthier, and stronger, and their family was given two of the most amazing gifts – the gift of life, and the gift of a second chance.
When we finally met up last week, to say the session was emotional is an understatement. To watch this family interacting, when no one really thought Mike would be here in June… to see him walking with his girls and imagine him walking them down the aisle – when just six months ago he was so weak he could only walk a few steps. More than once I was wiping tears away from behind my camera. When Mike beamed with pride telling me about Ella’s performance in her dance recital the night before, it was coupled with Becky’s confession that she had been so apprehensive to order Ella’s costume in January, because there was really no telling at that point how well (or if) the transplant would take.
I cried the entire way home after this session… so moved by their story, and so humbled that I got to be a part of this celebration of their new life. Elizabeth Park was the perfect location for this session, as the roses are in the height of their glory, we documented the bloom of a whole new chapter in their family. Check out little Chloe (aka Miss Independent)… I last photographed her when she was just a teensy itsy baby, and what a joy to see her and know how bright the future is for her and her family.