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.