There are times when I have struggled to understand what my purpose will be….. I attended a wedding yesterday, just 9 days after my double mastectomy…. for the sake of the bride who was just so devastated that I would not be there to shoot her wedding…. she was so extremely happy that I was able to be there for her! Her groom was so excited when he saw me and said… “she just kept saying she wanted you”…. In photography, it really has so little to do with the skill… well it does matter that you are an excellent photographer, but there are plenty of excellent photographers out there… What it really comes down to is the connection you have with your bride and groom! For this couple, we’d already done their engagement session and they had that level of comfort… and when their engagement session turned out amazing, they were devastated that I may not be there after my surgery… Our 2nd shooter kept asking… Is it that she’s not happy with my work? No…. it honestly has NOTHING to do with that or her skill… but more to do with the fact that I may not be able to be there. I told my bride… if my drains were out, I’d be there… even if for just a little bit…. I attended from 11-6:30… so other than reception highlights I was at least there to offer my input…. and from the sidelines without my eyes behind the camera, I can really focus on the little details… their positions, etc… I was able to really get them to come out of their shells and not be stiff…. to really evoke emotion. It was neat….
Anyway, so I’m sitting at the church yesterday in the back pews…. I’m watching my husband knock it out of the park…. and as the bride walks down the aisle, I have tears running down my face….. thinking about how I cannot photograph anymore…. and I’m watching the wedding and I just had this feeling that I should go talk to this lady that was sitting in the lobby of the church. She saw me…. and she invited me to come and sit down. She told me she was just diagnosed with breast cancer on Thursday and she is Stage III. I asked her how she is doing and she just said “I don’t know”… They’ve not been able to tell their children yet and she just felt like she was lying to them because they are wondering but she wants to tell them at the right time when they can be together, etc… When I expressed that I just felt compelled to talk to her, she just burst into tears…. I started to cry and we just hugged for what seemed like minutes….. I just kept telling her that this is NOT a death sentence and she will be just fine!!!! I can tell she is a very private person and she is one of the type of people that will be more inward… versus how I’ve chosen to be. It’s such a PERSONAL journey…. She just said “I don’t want people to pity me”…. I said… the people that love you will NOT pity you. If you take control of this thing and don’t allow it to keep you down, there is no way…. because life just goes on and to them you are still the same person…. and they will see beyond the cancer. After I talked to her…. I just had this feeling of…. something I cannot even explain. I felt like I followed my intuition and this is a relationship that is meant to be…. I’m meant to be there for her during her journey…..
And then I think about my purpose…. It’s not about me being a photographer anymore… even though I’m unsure what my path will be to make money….. my PURPOSE is to follow that intuition…. and be there for newly diagnosed cancer patients…. In a way of supporting them in an emotional way. I have a very calm, loving way about me…. and I think I bring a sense of calm…. I told her about ALL things I have done… with my diet, etc…. My purpose may only be to help this one lady….. but that is enough for me… The fact that I was there when she needed to tell someone who understands….. is just beautiful….. ❤
This is me with my beautiful bride J Leigh yesterday…