It’s taken me a little while to get up the courage to make this post. I hate to cry and personally think it’s a waste of my time and the headache is never worth it either. However, as I type this, the tears are flowing freely. I’m not even sure why I put make-up on this morning. The value of photography is not just in photos but memories; the memories of not just moments but the ones you love… Oh the importance of photos.
I feel like I have gone about life rather unaware of death. Not that I have not lost loved ones before, but I have been blessed to not have anyone too close to me pass in recent years. This past month I did and it rocked my world.
When Aaron started college, he was blessed with an awesome roommate. Not that I was worried, but I had heard those nightmare roomie stories. Jeff’s friendly personality and goofy sense of humor not only made it easy for Aaron to bond with him but me as well and before long I referred to him as Jeffy. Every so often I would remind Jeff to take care of Aaron for me since I could not be there with him. Knowing Jeff, I am sure he did so. Occasionally he would jump in on our Skype video chats or just answer Aaron’s phone to say hello to me.
When we go the call, there were about 15 people at our house. Aaron stepped away to answer the phone and I quickly gathered what had happened from those who were there when he picked up the phone. My mind raced and I was quickly going through every wedding photo looking for a photo of Jeff and I. Aaron had a photo with him since Jeff had been a groomsmen but I wanted to be in a photo with him too. It’s funny how that was the first thing I tried to find. How the photos of Jeff suddenly were the most important things to me.
I don’t go to funerals. So being at Jeff’s was the first in a longtime I had been at one. It’s not that I don’t want to support friends I just don’t handle it well. I would rather give you hugs and make you your favorite comfort food. Mustering up all the courage I had, I stood beside Aaron at the funeral. I was fine until Aaron pointed out Jeff’s cowboy boots. He had bought them for our wedding and there they sat at the church alter beside his work boots. That was just the kind of guy he was. You see, after our wedding Jeff wore those boot everywhere. So much so that he had been dubbed the Chalfont Cowboy. ( Chalfont, PA is where he lived.) I never really realized the impact Aaron’s friendship had made on Jeff or how much I too had become attached to him until then. A sense of loss and joy just smacked me upside the head but as I sat in the service listening to Jeff’s mom talk about the life he lived and how her dreams and prayers for him had come true, I knew that all was alright.
You see this was Jeff. He loved everyone and everyone loved him.
When I went back through our wedding photos, I was reminded of the importance of them. You never know how long you have with those you love. The photo of Jeff and I dancing with the silly focused look on his face is not the most amazing photo ever but I will treasure it like it is because he was a dear friend. So now as a wedding photographer, my perspective has changed a little more. After being a bride it changed to have more of a brides perspective but now after losing a dear friend, photos of the family and friends in attendance mean more to me now and I hope they will to our Jackson Signature Photography Couples too.
As wedding photographers, we are there to capture the whole day, now mind you that is a very big responsibility and Aaron and I can only be two places at a time, but our goal is to capture more photos of loved ones. Not that we don’t already but just getting a few more would be nice.
Give your bestie a call today or tell grandma how much you love her. Maybe take another selfie with your family when you have a second and frame your favorite photos. Keep those memories and cherish them forever.
From a bride and wedding photographer.