We all have a story to share. Life moves fast and moments happen in the blink of an eye but when we hold them sacred, they become some of the sweetest and most beautiful stories ever told. Our stories are rarely flawless and many do not have fairytale endings; they are full of beauty but also intertwined with pain. There is laughter and tears, dreams that come true and nightmares that seem never to end. But if the story is filled with love, there is nothing we would not do to live it all over again for just one more moment. For many, it is a sacred story they have.
A Sacred Story May Have Pictures
I have always loved a good story, especially one with pictures. From the moment in third grade when my brother gave me my first camera, I have rarely missed the opportunity to capture a moment. When I was in Jr. High I would borrow people’s high school yearbooks just to look at the photos and imagine what kind of story was behind them. I was a selfie pro long before the selfie became a thing. So, in 2013 when my son was silently placed in my arms and all of life as I knew it seemed to shatter around me on the hospital floor, I looked at my husband and said, “Pictures, we have to have pictures.”
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We have some photos from the hospital. The nurses took some, our family snapped a few, I had trouble staying awake because of all the medicine but I remember taking a few myself. None were professional, and they are very raw but they are some of my most cherished treasures. To look at them on the surface, you see blood, pain, sadness, gut-wrenching grief, dreams shattered, death and life changed forever. But, if you take a deeper look you see life and beauty. And love. Love that not even death could stop or change. A love that would open the chapter of another story to share.
A dear friend who is a professional photographer went above and beyond and met us at the funeral home and took beautiful portraits of us with our son before the funeral. I will never forget his kindness and grace. How he knelt in front of me and let me proudly introduce my son to him, and how he then called him by name and talked to him just as if he were alive. Fast forward three years, and another friend stepped in and helped me create a scrapbook for his third birthday. I was not able do it alone, so she came and sat with me as we went through each picture, one by one, and as the memories flooded back she was merely present with me until I was ready to place them on a page. Because of these moments that we shared, our stories became forever intertwined.
You have a story. A sacred story. A sacred story that matters. A sacred story that is to be shared. Our children’s legacies live on when we speak of them and tell their stories. I tell a lot of stories with photos, but that is by no means the only way to share. It does not matter how many moments we shared with our children, what matters is how we hold those moments. Our children’s legacies live on when we share their stories of love with the world. We may have found one another in this community of loss because of their death, but the truth is that we have been brought together because of sweet stories of love.
Photo Credit: jarmoluk/Pixabay
DeAndrea is a wife, mother of three beautiful children, and the Founder and Executive Director of A Memory Grows, a 501(c)(3) based in Fort Worth, Texas that provides retreats and events for parents who are grieving the death of their child.