celebrating their lives

today i wanted to share and celebrate the lives of two people, who touched my life in the most beautiful and powerful way over the past few years.  two people, who were taken from this world way too soon. sweet, sweet sam hutchison.  i met sam about three years ago through kiele's deaf itinerant, and began photographing him, when i shot he and max for  the magic water project.  from that point on, i tried to photograph sam and his family as much as i possibly could.

sam was such an incredible child, who loved fancy tennies, soccer, skateboarding and school.  he so cherished his friends and family.  he was gentle and kind and never complained.

after a five year battle with neuroblastoma, sam passed  away on friday, march 12th. while it was incredibly sad to attend sam's service, i was so grateful to be able to hug his parents and offer my condolences in person.  as his parents said at sam's service, his pain and suffering is now done and surely, he is one of the fastest angels up in Heaven right now.

and kirsten sandtrom, who was the cousin of a dear friend of mine, passed away yesterday.  after suffering from a chronic cough for a while, kirsten was diagnosed with adrenal cancer with metastasis to her liver and lungs, last july.  i was able to photograph kirsten and her family on a few different occasions.  kirsten (37) was an amazingly strong woman, who had a faith and spirit like no other.  she was truly beautiful inside and out and fought for her life with everything she had.  her family is absolutely amazing and i feel so blessed to have gotten to know kirsten and her family.

kirsten passed away yesterday morning, in her sleep.  i read on her site that she knew it was time -- she asked for forgiveness for anything she had done and then held on to say her goodbyes and share her love with her family, who was driving in...before closing her eyes for the last time.  my heart aches so much for her husband and three boys.

please, please keep both the hutchison and sandstrom families in your thoughts and prayers.  i just can't imagine!

and please don't forget to cherish and celebrate each and every day!!  thank you sam and kirsten for coming into my life and teaching me what it's like to truly live and appreciate.