I have finally started blogging, but we will talk about that at a later date.
This is for Jeanne + her family.
I had a session yesterday with a family visiting from out of town. Afterwards one of them asked, "What is your favorite type of shoot?" A pretty common question in my profession, something I answer on a regular basis. As I was giving my usual response..."young children are always the most entertaining, weddings are where I find I take my best photographs," it hit me like a ton of bricks thinking about what my least favorite type of shoot is, yet so simultaneously humbling.
Maybe I drove away from this session so heavy hearted because my "least favorite" shoot was just two Sunday's ago with Jeanne. Maybe because I know growing up in this town and with Racquel and Scott, that they are the most joyous and loving family, or maybe because my heart felt that same weight leaving Jeanne's home two Sunday's ago. Probably a little of everything.
God, she was such a beautiful woman and a truly great mother. Racquel + Scott, you have inherited your mom's most perfect parts. The parts that we will look at and listen to and be reminded of her. From her generosity and humor, to her genuineness. And her laugh, her unmistakable, contagious, from the belly laugh. I hope on bad days you can look at yourselves and be reminded of her too.
Sadly, it has been so long since I have sat in her presence and ate too many of her m&m cookies fresh out of the oven, but I was given a small reminder of her Sunday, and I will forever be grateful for that. I went over in the morning to take a few photos of everyone. We filtered through the list of what we thought was important and then we just sat, talked, and listened in the shade by her garden. I told my favorite story I could remember of Jeanne, which felt like a lot of pressure. We all know they possess the best story telling ability. But we did have a few laughs, so I thought I would share my story with all of you:
Growing up, Racquel would have the best sleepovers. We are talking pizza, soda, junk food galore, sappy movie after sappy movie, way more girl talk than sleeping, and then waking up to Jeanne's pancake breakfasts. mmmm. Except this one time, Jeanne decide to change things up and make banana pancakes. I don't know if Jack Johnson inspired her or maybe she had a batch of bananas going bad in the kitchen, but it was a disaster. Ten hungry girls poking at a plate full of pancakes, refusing to eat them. Well surely they couldn't be that bad, we were just teenage girls with our picky mouths. What was Jeanne supposed to do? Throw them out after she had spent her entire morning slaving in the kitchen? No, not Jeanne. We could feed them to the dog, of course! Lovable and chunky, Chester. 10 bellies relieved of these banana pancakes, and 1 dog belly happily filled. Or so we thought. Sure enough, Chester mowed down that pile of flapjacks like it was his only calling in life and 10 minutes later there was a pile of banana-pancake-dog-vomit on the kitchen floor. Not even Chester could stomach these things. I think Jeanne finally admitted that maybe the pancakes weren't that great. We all laughed until our empty bellies hurt and tears from giggling strolled down our faces. That story has stuck so vividly with me for so many years.
This world is twisted and I don't think I will ever fathom why people like Jeanne, are taken from those who love them whole-heartedly. Some say heaven needs those people too, and somedays that's the only reason I can come close to understanding.
To all of Jeanne's friends and family: memories and photographs will be a small light in this darkness. Remind yourselves of all the good she possessed, all the love she gave, and how beautiful she was. And never forget that these are things that are still here, just a little harder to find.
Jeanne: I hope they don't serve banana pancakes in heaven. Thank you for all of the laughs, leaving us with such caring and good people, and reminding us to hug our loved ones a little tighter. You are already so heavily missed.