So this morning I got up as usual; breakfast, school run and then back home to start work. I always begin with a little bit of social media admin, which usually involves checking my client messages on Facebook.
Today got a little different at that point, as Facebook cheerfully reminded me I have memories on this day. I love looking at memories... it is part of the passion I have for my job as a pregnancy, baby, child and family photographer. I record and preserve my clients memories, it is the best job in the world!
So I had a look at my memories of this day, exactly one year ago and this was what I saw.
And in an instant I was right back there...
Husband abroad for months with work, looking after my Son as he went through hospital appointment after appointment and test after test, 4 hours away from family support, building and running a business... And then on this day, exactly one year ago, I was sitting alone on the floor, holding a member of our family, who had been my support, companion and loyal friend for 14.5 years, as he breathed his last breath and slipped away. It feels like a hammer to my chest, a storm cloud of emotion boiling in my head, it hurts... that is what a photograph can do. It can take you right back to that very moment in life, to those feelings, those sensations... I literally can feel him in my arms, see his eyes looking into mine, smell the shampoo in his coat. I am there once again with him.
Some would look at this and say, "it's just a dog", "animals die every day, it's not like it is a person, a family member or friend". That is all true in part, he is a dog, but he is also a family member and a friend. My Son had never known life without Blaze, the security and comfort he gave us every day. We grieve for him in the same way I grieved for my Mother in Law, Father in Law, Grandparents, Godmother and friends when they passed away.
Some would now be thinking I am clearly crazy!
My point is you never know when the worst will happen. Just a few days before he died Blaze was romping around a nature reserve with my 5 year old having the time of his life. A few months previously my dear friend Amanda Voller of Amanda Voller Dog Photography drove up from Surrey and took this amazing image of Blaze (below), which I absolutely love (please go to her website, her dog photography is incredible https://amandavollerdogphotographer.com). We had it made into a beautiful 30 inch by 40 inch HD acrylic, the same product I offer to my clients and we hung it up in our living room. We had no idea that a few months later he would be leaving a huge dog shaped hole in our family.
Every single day without fail I look at this beautiful image of Blaze, capturing his personality to perfection and I love it. It makes me smile remembering how he guarded us, loved us and supported me through many tough and lonely times. Amanda named this image 'Guardian' and it is so apt. This image reminds me of all the fantastic times we had with Blaze... it helps the ache of feeling him leave me as I held him that day exactly one year ago.
So thank you to those who have read this far.
My message is simple... if you want to preserve those people precious to you then photograph them. If your budget allows, pay someone to photograph you professionally and that way you can be in the photos too, not just the one holding the mobile phone camera or doing a selfie.
And more than that... do not leave those precious memories in the depths of your phone, which can get lost or damaged or mouldering on a USB in a drawer.
Print them, hang them, have them made into wall art. Speak to your professional photographer and ask them what they suggest that will work with your lifestyle and decor. Every time you walk past those memories they will bring back all the emotions of that time.
A mobile or a USB won't look good on a wall... your memories do and they are so important.
Just don't leave it until tomorrow,
you don't know how many of those you have.