I am not a fan of the nights when you are physically exhausted, but your brain just keeps on going and won't shut down. I have a million things going through my head. A huge to do list and lots of heavy thinking...that is the part that is keeping me awake, I'm sure.
It's been far too long since I've talked about Olivia. She was the reason I started this blog...
A few weeks ago, I took photos of my great nephew, he is so cute and adorable and perfect. The same day, I took photos of another little baby, a boy, who was tiny and adorable and perfect, but it wasn't a happy day for these parents. He had passed away. It was an interesting day for me, to go from one extreme to the other, to see such joy in one family and sorrow in another.
I don't share my story with families at the hospital unless I am asked questions about how I am able to photograph their little ones. This particular family, that few weeks ago, was quiet and reserved, showing little emotion, like they had things under control. I quietly went about my photographing, keeping my words to a minimum so they could keep the quiet peace in their room. I always point out the sweet little features, usually finding that the baby has so and so's nose, or so and so's hair color. I think it helps them to know that I look past the imperfections and see a beautiful human being, their child. I usually end the photo shoot with the parents holding their baby so that when I leave the parents get to have a moment with their sweet little one. As I left the room, the mother started to cry. By the time I was in the hallway, I could hear her sobs. I was thanked by the hospital staff and was told that it was the first time she had cried since she had got to the hospital. I'm not sure what it was I said or did. A few days later, I got a card in the mail.
"Thank you for coming to take pictures of ____ and his family. His parents left this card of recognition for you and they and the staff were so appreciative of all you did.
I can't imagine doing this job without your services. Thanks not only for your amazing photography talent, but for your sensitivity and respect you offer. Thank you!"
Inside the card was a note from the family on a recognition postcard:
"For Arah Kunz.
Deserves recognition for: treating my son with the utmost respect while taking photos. Being respectful of family and boundaries."
This was the first note I have ever received from a family. It made me feel so good that, because of my little Olivia, I can help another family have memories and maybe give them hope that things will be okay, maybe not tomorrow, but eventually.
Earlier this week, I was at the hospital photographing another sweet little baby. This family was more talkative, asked me lots of questions about how long I had been taking photographs for Forget Me Not(I can't believe it's been two years) and how I got started. Sometimes I get a "I'm so sorry for your loss" and I feel bad, like I'm taking a moment away from their child. After I was finished, I left my information with the family, then quietly left. The next day I got an email from one of the family members.
I want to express my thanks for your kindness and caring way that you respected ____ yesterday. Your compassion and tenderness helped to lessen the pain that we were all feeling so deeply..."
It amazes me what my daughter has done for so many families. I know her spirit is right there with me when I am with these little ones . It's my one-on-one time with Olivia that I can't really have anywhere else.