[Im sharing this session in two galleries. They both deserve all the love. This is the wildwood session. See my next post for the Falling Water session that preceded these beautiful moments.]
Summer storms are intense in North Carolina. They can come out of nowhere, and roll in with a fierceness that shakes the land itself. Sometimes they are light, but more often then not- the skies come to break up the heat with a passion, with a dark and glorious roar. They pour down with a heaviness, a great quenching of the earth. For a time, the sun leaves us, and the waters flood.
These summer storms, they leave just as quickly as they come. They bring us great blessing, water we desperately needed. They leave behind glorious skies, rainbows, and colors. They leave the land different then when it came. Everything that was dry, is now quenched. Everything that was wilting, finds new life, new breath. Everything that was hot, has cooled. We trade in hot sand and dirt for rich mud and earth, teaming with life. The storms come, every year, but sometimes they truly do seem to come out of nowhere.
I can only pray that the storm that hit this family this year, will also give them life, water, and blessings. This photography session was so FULL of summer joy. Warm, vibrant, and glowing. The sun shone so gloriously. This mother took time, to document this beautiful pregnancy. She was a dear friend of mine, I took my doula training under her, and am so grateful to not only have been student to her wisdom, but to have been photographer to this moment. I have walked alongside her many times, many brief times. When she birthed her last baby, I was supposed to be present- but ended up suffering through a birth and loss of my own at the same time she was birthing. When she contacted me again two years later, my heart felt an instinctual pull- I knew I had to walk alongside her on this journey again.
We documented this photo session just days before her due date. She was ready. I was ready. I waited for the call as I edited her photos. Laughing out loud when I witnessed her effervescent smile through my screen, remembering the sound of her voice and laughter, so bright. One night, I felt like it was going to be it. I told my husband to prepare, and awaited the text my intuition told me was coming. When my phone rang with the song I had set to her name, it was an invitation to hold space, but not in the way I imagined. Her baby had passed away inside her womb. There was no cause, there was no reason, there was only this storm. Come on so quickly, so suddenly. My heart. Knowing that I could not prevent any of the pain, knowing the grief to come. I could do nothing. Except hold space in my heart for her. For her husband. For her child. For her entire family. While they birthed, while they buried their child, while they entered the space that grief takes you. The unique space of loosing a child, feels like another world, another time. There is no comparison. Like I lost my baby, she was loosing hers. I knew something of her journey to come, it can be so long, and there are no shortcuts. I felt, and thought, and held, and I prayed for the impossible.
Looking back, I know deeply that she was bright. That this Childs life was bright! Oh so bright. Like a summer sun. Real, and strong. He warmed us for a time. The waters that come from this storm will water their life for years to come. In beautiful and heartbreaking ways. The hope and grace that coexists within grief is phenomenal. Vital. Hard.
With all my grief, with all my love, I present these beautiful photos to you. Remembering the life of Ya-Neef, and every smile he ever brought to our faces. Every laugh.
I remember how your mother spoke gentle loving words over you. I am comforted knowing that for every second of your life, you were held. For every moment of your existence you were loved.
May we meet again<3
To quote the song I sent your mother after our session... <3
Run away, let your heart be your guide You deserve the deepest of cover You belong in that home by and by
You belong among the wildflowers You belong somewhere close to me Far away from your trouble and worry You belong somewhere you feel free
You belong among the wildflowers You belong somewhere close to me Far away from your trouble and worry You belong somewhere you feel free You belong somewhere you feel free