A few words... - Blog

A few words…

I was in 2 minds whether to write this this post…but I feel I have to share this with you.

Yesterday I attended a memorial service for my lovely friend Louise, who was taken away from us far to early at the age of 35. She passed away from cancer, a melanoma, and her deterioration was very fast. Lots of people gathered to say goodbye to the lovely Lou, and at the gathering some stood up and shared their fondest memories of her. I couldn’t do it, as there was no way I would have been able to speak, but it was wonderful to hear some stories that people shared. There was also a slide show with lots of images of Lou throughout her life, which was beautiful, and heart breaking at the same time. The memorial ended by lighting, and setting free some Chinese lanterns. Lou was ray of sunshine to everyone who knew her , and I am so sad that she is not with us anymore. She was also a free spirit , and releasing the lantern felt very profound…it was like letting her go to a better place. Maybe the little cottage by the sea she always dreamed of….

I was looking through some photographs that I took of her at the hospital the day before the memorial service…I have a habit of hiding behind the camera. I took it in with me on a couple of visits, and although I felt intrusive, I also felt useful. I am so glad I did it now. Lou didn’t have much family over here, but WOW, did she have friends. I have images of so many people sitting around with her, by her bed, and in the visitors room, and they came from all over the world. I was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of people that knew her and loved her, and it has really made me realize how important your family and friends are. It’s difficult to explain, but I think when you someone your age be so unwell, you question your own mortality. You think about those that are would be left behind, and what an impact it would have if you were no longer there. It also made me realize  just how important my job is…I am so glad to have those pictures of her.

I am so grateful to be able to do what I do for a living, and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for trusting me with your little ones, it is truly a privilege. I hope those images will mean a lot to you, and more so as time goes on. I am definitely going to be getting my camera out a little more at home, I have promised myself that I will take lost more pictures of my own family, as this tends to get neglected…

I will also be making some changes to the way I work, something that I stared implementing a few months back, and hoping that slowly I can get my life back. Having been working near on 90 hour weeks lately, I realize that I really need to take time out. For my family, for my friends, for me. So, after the commitments I already have, I will no longer be shooting weddings, and I will be limiting the amount of shoots I take…this will mean a better customer service and and I can finally get some sleep! Having spent the last 3 years overworked and with a constant pang of guilt about not being a good enough mummy, wife, photographer and friend, I think it’s time to do make some changes. I am hoping to start running again too, I miss the feeling of elation and freedom, and sheer sense of self achievement.

So why am I writing all this? I guess sometimes I feel we all take stuff for granted. We are on a treadmill that is so hard to get off from. Lou’s passing away has made me take a good hard look at my life, but it’s shame that a death of friend is what it took to wake me up. All I know, is that it could have been me, it could have been any of us. Suddenly everything trivial that seems daily so important, isn’t.

So, for you Lou Lou, my beautiful positive friend, I make these promises…to always wear sunblock…to make more time for my family and friends…to get my backside back into exercise…to stop feeling sorry for myself and DO stuff rather than just talking about it. I will miss you, and will see you again on the other side…hopefully not too soon! xxx

Below is an image of how I will remember  Lou, and some iphone images from yesterday.

I haven’t shared this with you for sympathy…but because I think sometimes we all forget how blessed we are. Just to be here, be healthy, and to have family and friends around us, is what really matters. So if you haven’t done so already today, make that call to a friend you have been putting off for a while, give a loved one a big hug, and find a moment for yourself and your family. Because ultimately, a lot of the other things do not matter. And take lots of pictures…those memories are so important.

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COMMENTs:

  1. Helen says:

    What a sad post, but positive too. The picture of your friend is stunning. 90 hour weeks are not good for anyone no matter how talented and in demand you are!, hope your work/life balance evens out soon.

  2. Karen Ellingford says:

    Thank you so much for sharing that with us, your post has really touched me and I am so sorry for your loss. You have made me take a good long hard look at the life I am leading at the moment and I thank you for that. My thoughts and prayers are with you and Louise’s friends and family.
    Karen xxx

  3. Tony Kalsi says:

    Maria, what you have written is so obviously from the heart, and so thoughtfully written… I am sure that all of your clients that feel connected to you, your work, your passion and your ethos, will totally understand and fully support your decisions. Deepest sympathy for Lou — She was, and still is obviously an inspiration to you… You, who gives so much inspiration to us all, and as you mentioned provide us with life long memories of our little-one growing up so beautifully and elegantly captured — All the best with future plans, and I have no doubt your family are overjoyed with the prospect of having more time with You.
    Always here if you need us…Tony, Taj & Jashan

  4. john says:

    I visited your site several days ago and planned to leave a different message asking if i could help out with any photography…I have just read the above, however, and I feel moved enough to write that you have become an inspiration for me to not only become a better photographer but also to take time to appreciate my family. I have been so wrapped up in work commuting to London 5/6 days a week I haven’t made enough time for my wife or my daughter who is now 2 1/2. I am so sorry for your loss.
    I hope you manage to achieve all you desire.

  5. Tracy Perry says:

    I could feel myself welling up reading this post, which has been so beautifully written. I have been following your blog for a few months now and keep meaning to contact you to tell you how inspired I am by your work. I have recently set up my own photography business, a dream that I just had to strive for when I became a new Mum and wanted to have a job not only that I love, but that can fit around a family life and be there for my little boy growing up. Your work really has been an inspiration to me, you are very talented and obviously have worked extremely hard to get where you are today. I hope one day that my images are even half as good as yours, but I will take your advice as I am already finding the late nights photo editing and studying a strain and when my little boy recently turned one I realized I had not taken any photographs of him for 3months. I also have a friend fighting cancer in their early 30’s and it certainly does make you think. Thank you for sharing not only your very touching post, but for also sharing your truly breath taking work. Well done for all your achievements and I hope you get to have some time out soon. God Bless x

  6. Chanelle says:

    lovely words and images Maria. Thinking of you

  7. Susan Spencer says:

    Hi Maria, having spoken to you recently, I know how hard it must have been for you to put your thoughts on your dear friend into words on the page. As someone who works at the local hospice, particularly with friends and families of lost loved ones, I am aware on a daily basis here how painful it is to lose someone special, especially when they are so young, it seems so unfair. I know that your images are amazing and inspirational, and when I’ve had a day at work where everything has just got a bit too emotional and affected me, I look at your wonderful picture of Laurence and Natasha sitting on my desk and their smiles uplift me again. Hope you have a really relaxing holiday with your familiy, and come back to your work with renewed energy. We hope to have the Hospice’s In Memoriam Tribute Fund launched at the end of September and I will send an information pack to you – it may be something that you feel you may like to do to celebrate the life of your friend Lou. Take care, Susan x

  8. Michael Turner says:

    Hi Maria
    We have never (knowingly) met , although our paths may have crossed at some photography meeting or other. Although I don’t know you, or your friend, I just wanted to say that you did absolutely the right thing in posting your thoughts for all of us to read and that what you say is so very true. You have touched a stranger. Keep up your special work for others – you have a real gift – but keep reminding yourself that you and your family are special too.
    Michael

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