never alone

i saw this video on my friend, joely's, facebook -- sharing that this song will always remind her of kirsten.  with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes, i have to say, it is so incredibly beautiful.

in july 08, joely told with me that her cousin, kirsten (36 and the mother to three young boys), was diagnosed with adrenal cancer. i immediately asked joely, if she would share with kirsten that i would love to do family photos for them...anytime. and that's how our journey together began.

i often get asked about how i get involved with photographing people with cancer.  is there a group? a website? well, to be honest, i just ask. i can't say that i've ever sought out any of the people with cancer, who i've photographed. gratefully, our paths simply crossed. of course, i feel that it was just meant to be. i met sam through kiele's deaf itinerant teacher. i met max through sam. i met kirsten through joely.

it did take quite a bit of persistence on my part, to begin photographing sam and his family. and that's ok. i'm sure it's not easy letting someone in like that.  i occasionally reminded them that i was still willing, without being too pushy,

whenever they're ready, i am here.

eventually, they did let me in and i photographed sam and his family numerous times over the past four years.

i've shared this before -- i truly feel i've been blessed with this gift of photography. and my heart is always open, willing and longing to give back with it.

this was from the first time i photographed kirsten and her family, in august 2008.

ETA: within minutes of launching this post, i received this from kirsten's husband.  this is why i do what i do!!

Dear Deb,

I don’t know if you have heard, but Kirsten passed away last Thursday morning.

I can’t thank you enough for sharing your gift with our family!  You have no idea how incredibly meaningful the pictures you took of us are.  I remember you telling me the story of your husband and how few pictures he had of his mom.  Because of you, we are surrounded by amazing images of Kirsten that constantly remind of us of the incredible person she was, and the incredible spirit and inspiration that she continues to give!

Thank you Deb!  You are a wonderful, giving person with a one-of-a-kind gift!  Our family is forever indebted to you, and your photographs will always fill our house with happy memories!