It's been 5 years since I had to face my worst fear, the moment I dreaded most. On August 16, 2011, I held Skylar while my husband supported her head, and we felt her sweet little lungs take their last breath. Then she was gone.
It was my first intimate meeting with death. I had seen the aftermath at many memorial services, but I had never been present when death came until that moment. That began my long-term relationship with death. It would visit me several more times over the next couple of years as I was present with people who would breathe their last. But that's okay. You know why? Because I've learned I can take a little bit of the sting away from death and that brings me joy.
I've found in losing many people I have loved, that comfort comes in the form of photographs. Not just digital ones either. At every memorial service I have been to (and unfortunately I have been to a lot), there has been some form of printed photo as a way to remember. Seeing the person alive, even if in a moment frozen in time by a picture, brings peace, comfort, good memories, and a reminder of the love we shared with that person - a reminder our love isn't lost.
From my own personal experience, and talking to the loved ones of those I have photographed who have already passed on, I know that photographs are an incredible gift to help through the grief and healing process. They give you a tangible thing to touch and give you permission to be whatever you need to be in that moment, whether it's saying that you miss them out loud or having a good cry when no one else is around.
Photos have allowed me to share my daughter, Skylar, with you. They have allowed a sweet little girl the ability to meet her big brother who is no longer living. They have allowed two beautiful children to interact every day with their daddy who lost his life to cancer. They have allowed parents to hold onto their child after they buried her. They have helped a mom feel validated on Mother's Day after her baby was no longer in her womb or in her arms. They have helped a mom celebrate the love she shares with her family and the time she has left. Memories matter. Photographs matter. People we love matter.
We want to help preserve memories for more people on a national level, but to do that, we need your help. You may have seen that we are in the middle of a crowdfunding campaign. Today, 5 years after Skylar left my arms forever, we have a goal to raise $5,000. I know raising $5k in a day seems crazy, but we know there are generous people out there who care about people in grief and believe that everyone deserves to be remembered. Will you join us in contributing any amount you are able to? Will you help us share our story? Will you help us reach our goal so we can start adding to our photographers to serve people across the nation?
Because of photos, I have so many precious memories preserved - how I really hated the color pink until Skylar looked so dang cute in it, how she would always hold my finger and squeeze it (which we called hand hugs since she couldn't move her arms), and how she would always look up at me with her big beautiful deep blue eyes full of wisdom and love, which I will always treasure. And the best part of all, these photos allow me to share them with you - even 5 years after she has been gone!
Please help me give this same gift to others! Support our campaign.
If you aren't able to donate, we would be so grateful if you could help us spread the word. Every share on social media, a mention to friends in conversation, or direct message to people you think would care about our mission is HUGE. Visit us on social media @lovenotlostorg for content to share and re-post.
We can't do this without your help and hope you'll join us in celebrating life and love in the face of grief.
Thank you so much - let's make August 16th a great day!