Life so often, too often, gets in the way. It's one of the reasons I'm thankful for Social Media outlets such as Facebook. It's allowed me to connect with old friends. Like Erica! We spent many days together in High School on our Varsity Gymnastics Team. Practices held memories like crappy equipment, orange and blue leotards, leap frog and lots of laughs. But like any good life provides, we lost touch after High School and then reconnected on Facebook a few years ago. We've congratulated each other on our marriages and then the birth of our children. We've run in to each other while shopping for diapers (a true testament to what our lives had become) and shared conversations via messaging to catch up as best we could. Erica was a friend. Always has been.
So when she told me she had recently been diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkins Lymphoma, I did what any normal friend would do. I cried. I cried because it didn't matter that I hadn't hung out with her in years. It mattered that my friend, someone I care about, was given a diagnosis no one ever wants to hear. I said to her the words she had probably heard from so many others "Let me know if there's any I can do for you". But what could I do?! I wasn't a doctor, I couldn't cure her. I wasn't g-d, I couldn't make this go away or be just a bad dream she could wake up from. But I realized that I was something! I was a photographer! I could give her entire family something. I could give them immortality, happiness and memories of love through photos.
I could give Erica the memories and proof that she was NOT her cancer. That she was a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother and a beautiful friend and person! I presented the idea to Erica and she loved it! A couple of weeks later we met on the beach in what some might say was the perfect weather and setting anyone could ask for. But what was even more perfect, I was getting the honor of photographing the most beautiful loving family. These photos were not posed or planned out. I asked them to be a family. To do what they do best every day, to love each other. I think you'll agree, they did, they do!
Thank you Erica & Jared for allowing me to give even this small piece of happiness to you. Thank you for allowing me to experience the love of your family. And thank you, for being friends! Erica, Just as the sun was shining for us at your shoot, so shall it for you! You are a worrier, an inspiration and one of the strongest people I know! I love you!
On Sunday October 18th I will walk with Erica, her family and her friends in the Light the Night Walk to support the fight against cancer! Please consider supporting us in this walk and Erica in her fight against cancer by donating to the Light the Night Walk (Leukemia & Lymphoma Society) at the link below! THANK YOU!