It was a Challenge by my 'accountability partner.'
It is Something I've Wanted To Do.
I'm a Story Teller and Legacy Portrait Photographer-
We are all want more meaning and love in our lives.
We want to feel connected to one another, and yet many times times we aren't sure where to begin. So, when challenged to do a Facebook Live Campaign, I came up with the idea to tell the story behind the photo/portrait.
Have you ever looked at an image and felt it's power, but also wondered what the story was behind it?
This is Legacy Photography.
Today was my first Facebook Live broadcast for 'Tuesday Tell All.' I began putting it all together a few days ago.
Tuesday Tell All
Step One: Stop procrastinating and commit: CHECK
Step Two: Decide on Topic: CHECK
Step Three: Choose a portrait to begin with. STOP. I have many beautiful, emotional images to choose from. I decided to begin with one of my book participants. The beautiful families who shared their stories not only contributed to my upcoming book Love Still Lives Here, but also allowed me into their homes to take some portraits. I have 12 to choose from. Vickie's father Lasiter is in a memory care facility at Poet's Walk in Round Rock, TX, and their story is beautiful. She sent me a text 4 days ago that he wasn't doing well, so I chose to honor Lasiter and Vickie.
A rather magical thing happened one day last summer. One of my book participants referred a local memory care to me because they needed a photographer. Photographing families, emotional times, and the elderly are things I love to do.
Poet's Walk, A Spring-Hills Community in Round Rock wanted their first 2-3 residents photographed. This was their opening here in Round Rock, TX. I applaud and appreciate the caregivers- whether home caregivers or professional because it’s not an easy job. But, when done right- it’s a ‘job’ of love. I was overtaken by the way the staff responded and cared for their residents and families. I’ve photographed several events for them, and feel like I’m almost a part of their family. I just can’t say enough.
One of their first residents was Lasiter. He was a tall, good looking 93 year old man. He turned 94 in September, 2016. I spent a bit of time talking to his daughter Vickie who was struggling with her decision about placement and concerns about her decisions. We had a lovely visit and when I offered to include her in my book, she eager accepted. A few weeks later we met for coffee, and so began our friendship.
Vickie’s Love for her Dad was Palpable
The staff- shout out to Becca and Amber- helped Vickie with the transition and to learn to surrender some of the burden. Vickie, who had previously done 100% for her Dad learned to just be there and LOVE. Sometimes, all she needed to do was to be present and loving. Sometimes we need to ‘do’ nothing more than that. She began yet another step on her journey. More about Vickie and her father Lasiter will in my upcoming book Love Still Lives Here. I hope to have it in my hand by Spring, 2017!
Through the months, I enjoyed getting to know Vickie and Lasiter better. I loved Vicky’s direct nature and I’ve loved getting to know her better.
I gifted several of the portraits to Vickie and her family over the holidays. I know they meant a lot to her. They'll become a part of Lasiter's legacy, and in fact they'll become a big part of Vickie's legacy as the loving daughter that she is.
So, yesterday, yes- I procrastinate sometimes- yesterday I sent out an email to Poet’s Walk and to Vicky that I wanted to share their story and honor them on FaceBook live.
I wanted them to know that I would tell a part of their story- about Vickie, Lasiter and also about the importance of caregiving to include how highly I think of Poet’s Walk in Round Rock. I planned to visit them Tuesday afternoon following the Facebook Live post. This is perhaps where the real beauty of the story begins.
Once I sent out the email, I applauded myself for finally committing to the Facebook Live campaign. I felt like my theme- to tell the stories behind the portraits was a good one. Next, I set out to choose a few portraits and organize my talk a bit.
The Story Changes...
About an hour later I got an email from Amber at Poet’s Walk that Lasiter had passed that very afternoon. I was heartbroken and kicked myself for procrastinating. I kicked myself for celebrating the fact that I had finally launched the campaign. Why did I let my fear about doing FB live stop me from doing this last week or the week before? How silly of me to have celebrated, when in fact I had waited too long to begin.
I called Vickie, and God love her- she just loved the idea. She said her father passed peacefully and commented on how much the staff of Poet’s walk and the hospice team helped and supported her. She felt a sense of contentment knowing her father no longer suffered. We shared a few giggles, and she told me her father would have told me, 'Good God. Get over it and do it already!.' We laughed. True that Lasiter. She had grieved the losses for years, and felt an indescribable fatigue. She doesn't play on Facebook, so she planned to enlist her daughters for some help and listen in. She lost her father just hours before, and yet found a way to comfort and encourage me.
We share the belief that there are no coincidences. There is divine intervention even if we don't get it right away. Even if we never get it. She could see no better way to honor her father than to do this post today. And so I am.
Rest in Peace Lasiter
Those portraits I gave Vickie at Christmastime have now become priceless to her and the family. This is how I become a part of the story. What a life and what a wonderful art I get to share.
It’s not unusual for me to shed tears when I sit down to edit and review the images I took at a photo session.
Why? Because it’s love- you can’t help but see it. Time is a blur for most of us. With my camera and my intuition, I stop time for just that moment and can hold onto it forever. This is what I love about my work- my art. Whether it’s children, families, pregnant ladies, business owners and even events- there is love. I get to capture that for people. Again- what an honor and yes, a responsibility.
Have you been thinking about getting some pics taken but put it off to lose weight...? Don't wait. EVERY time of our life is important and worthy of being memorialized-even the more difficult times. This photographer takes the responsibility very seriously and understands the importance of your photo session-your legacy photography. Take a look at some of the behind the scenes videos to get an idea of how fun it can be!
I’ll showcase a different portrait next week, and include other contributors to my book in the future too. Next week, I may talk about the young man in the photo above my head. He is turning 30 next week and has done some amazing things with his life.
Thank you again and I’ll see you next week!