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  • Writer's pictureTara Hollow

Treasuring Loved Ones

If you have ever been a photography client of mine you may very well have heard me try to convince you to have a portrait by yourself joking that at least "you'll have a beautiful portrait to sit next to your casket one day." While I usually get some laughs out of that, unfortunately it's the truth. I've had clients lose loved ones and it's the images I took of those loved ones that get plastered on Facebook, placed in the obituary online and yes, placed next to the casket or the urn. It's these moments that truly make me remember the importance of my photo sessions. Knowing that I might be taking the last portraits of a person on this earth.

For those of you that don't keep up with me, my mother, Selena, unexpectedly passed away four weeks ago. This time it was me choosing a photo I'd taken of my deceased love one and having it blown up to a poster size at Walgreens to place next to her closed casket. This time it was me grateful for the photoshoot that got scheduled so I had all of these incredible photos to remember her by. This time it was me at the butt of my morbid joke.

I can't begin to make sense of how I feel. It still doesn't feel real. I didn't get to say goodbye because I didn't see it coming. I had a life time to tell her how much I actually loved her and appreciated her for what she did for me and my boys, but those overwhelming feelings to say it out loud to her didn't come to me until it was too late. Just like that without warning, at 59, she's gone. All I have left of her are memories and pictures.

I have learned a life lesson here to share with you all. As you know and it's said quite often, we are not promised tomorrow. We all know it's truth, but we often do not truly take it into consideration in our everyday lives. Life is short, too short. Babies grow up fast and parents and grandparents grow old in the blink of an eye. Tell your loved ones you love them. You don't need a birthday, a holiday or a reason to tell someone how much you appreciate them and what you admire about them. Tell them while they're here, alive, and can hear it. Quit holding grudges and refusing to forgive your family and friends. God is watching, little ones that look up to you are watching and before too long it will be too late when the guilt falls hard on your heart. Go on those family vacations you keep putting off and making excuses for. Work will still be there when you get home, you'll make more money, but you'll never get back the time to make memories with those you love most on this earth. Take videos of your loved ones, take videos of yourself FOR your loved ones. Tell someone you'll miss them one day and ask them to leave you a voicemail on your phone so that when you're feeling blue you'll have it to listen to over and over. With all of these fancy phones, there's no excuse not to take pictures. Schedule those family portraits you keep putting off, for you never know how much you will cherish them one day.

The patience, love and grace I've been shown in these last few weeks has been overwhelming and comforting. I am behind on delivering images, I am behind in responding to your messages, emails and phone calls, and I've made myself less available for photo sessions. Thank you for giving me the space I need and forgiving me for all of the above as I've attempted to appear like I still have it all together, but really I'm a mess inside my head. Please pray for my family as we attempt to heal from this great loss.

I know Mom wouldn't want me to stop doing what I love and that keeps me going. I hope to see you in front of my camera soon.



Video Tribute to Mom

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