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As we start a New Year (2017) I am grateful for many things, especially when I can bless another with those gifts that I am blessed to have. My ability to photograph a family that is facing challenges and not sure what the future holds gives my soul purpose. Meet Christine and Darryl who moved back to the Central Valley to be close to family for emotional support after Darryl became terminally ill. Darryl has walked away from death so far 3 times. Last year Christine became sick and was diagnosed with congestive heart failure, it was a “hard hit, especially for the kids”, Christine says. As her heart has returned to almost normal with the help of medication, there was yet another health issue hurled at the family last October,  Christine was diagnosed with breast cancer, an aggressive one. Once again the family was faced with new challenges and decisions.

Upon hearing this I offered a family portrait before Christine’s surgery, not knowing if she would need chemo therapy until they did surgery or if her heart would handle the surgery well. The night before they were scheduled to come into the studio, Darryl had to be taken to the hospital for some internal bleeding and was taken into surgery. To the dismay of the kids who did not want to participate in a family portrait without their father in it, came in anyway, with my promise that I would get their dad  composited into the portrait as soon as he was well enough to come in. During the session as I placed them into the frame, I put onto the floor an ‘x’ of tape  where I would later add Darryl. In one of the frames I had their cousin stand in a spot that would later be his. Several days later, Darryl made it down, I shot his picture in several different poses as if he were standing with his family. The rest was the magic that happens during editing and good planning.

I was able to create a family portrait for them that their kids will treasure for their lifetime as they share it with generations to come. The love they have for each other as a family can be felt when I was  around them. Since that day, Christine has had her surgery and has gotten a very good prognosis. This is what makes my heart sing.