Hello and thank you for stopping by our blog. We are so excited that you are here!
My name is Ashley, founder of Love Not Lost. I want to welcome you to our website and share more of my heart here on the blog. This post is dedicated to why I started Love Not Lost beyond what's included in my story. If you don't have time to read my story right now, it's important to know I had a daughter named Skylar. She was given a terminal diagnosis at 2 months old and we had to say goodbye to her at 21 months old. During that time, we made the most of life and had two photographers gift us portrait sessions. Below is just one of the many sweet moments captured with our girl.
When Skylar died, it was so hard for me to look at any photos of her. I couldn't bear the pain of not having her physically with me and photos just made me hurt. My love for her was directly related to the pain I felt, and I wasn't sure if my heart would survive. But as the days passed, I longed to see her face, to hold her hands, kiss her cheek, and snuggle all day long. Photos were all I had left to physically hold. They kept her close and helped me remember.
As I was in the thick of grief, the photos we were given helped me carry on each day. There were days I barely got out of bed. There were days full of tears and pain. Let's just say there were some really bad days. However, with each day that passed, I had hope that somehow, I would learn to live in this new normal of being a mom without my daughter... that things would get better.
I stayed thankful for the good things I had in my life and tried to look beyond myself to help others. As a professional photographer, I offered free portrait sessions to anyone I heard of facing a terminal diagnosis... You see, a professional portrait session wasn't something we had even considered with Skylar because our minds were focused on survival. We didn't have the time to research who would be a good photographer with a special needs child, let alone have the money for quality results with our growing medical bills. But looking back, the sessions we were gifted were so valuable and something I didn't even realize I would want or need. It is a gift that I hope to pay forward a million times over.
As I have started giving this gift to others, I have been able to celebrate life, grieve loss, and learn what's really important: Love. In every session, whether celebrating life or preparing to say goodbye, my goal is always to capture love. I want to preserve memories to hold close when the grief comes and love disguises itself as pain. I want to capture a smile, a look, a touch that people can find comfort in when their loved one seems a distant memory.
Of the families I've worked with already, I've had to say goodbye to some amazing people. As much as it breaks my heart to share in the grief of losing them, it brings me great joy to know that I was able to preserve memories of their love for their family and friends to turn to for comfort.
It's now been over 4 years since Skylar died, and the photos that were taken of our family are framed in our home. They are the only way that our newer friends can "meet" Skylar. They bring me so much joy each day as I can look at them and see the love we shared. As I struggle to hold on to memories as life carries on, the photos provide a physical backup to my mind. They have helped me grieve and heal and I am forever grateful for them.
I hate seeing people in the same situation that we were in - knowing your loved one is going to die. However, when death waits patiently, I believe that you can make the most of the time you have. Through photography, I am going to do everything possible to help carry the burden with those facing a terminal diagnosis and provide resources so that you can help me carry it too. I will not be able to do this alone!
As we share more stories on the blog, my hope is that people will be comforted that they are not alone in their grief and suffering. We are building an online community of encouragement and love and invite you to join us.
Please share our story and our website with your friends and family. Follow us on social media - give us your likes, comments, and shares. Awareness is critical to building a strong community with great people who share our heart in helping preserve memories and spread love to those grieving. We will need volunteers and donors to help us start photographing in the Spring, so please be sure to share, volunteer, and give as you are able.
Thank you for supporting Love Not Lost!