I had a NILMDTS session today and met a wonderful family that is suffering the loss of a child. After each and every session that I do for NILMDTS, I always step back and look at my life and thank God for everything I have. In the wake of a families tragedy and loss one seems to find that those little things that seem so bad, really aren't that bad.
I can't give specific details about my session out of respect for the families, but today's session was a little more difficult than other sessions I have done. He was beautiful and I could feel how much his family loved him and see it in every image I took. He will take his place in my heart right next to the 18 other beautiful little angels that have graced my life over the past 4 years I have been part of this organization.
Many of you know of my association with the organization Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep
(NILMDTS) but I don't think I have ever actually explained what it is or why I do it. For those of you that don't know what NILMDTS is, it is an incredible organization that provides families of babies who are stillborn or are at risk of dying as newborns with free professional portraits with their baby. Before you say, "OMG! Why would you want that?" This is a sample of the type of portraits that are created for the families.
|To see more or learn more about how you can contribute to this organization go to www.nilmdts.org |
In 2005 a Colorado family had to make the excruciating decision to take their 6 day old baby off life support. But before they did, they called a local photographer to take black and white portraits of them cradling their son. Those tender photographs documenting the child's eternal connection with his parents inspired the mother, Cheryl Haggard and photographer, Sandy Puc' to found this nonprofit organization. The Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation (NILMDTS) administers a network of approximately 7000 volunteer photographers in the United States and nineteen International countries. To read more about Cheryl's story and letter she wrote to her baby boy Maddux, click HERE
I am so proud to be one a member of this organization, I joined the organization 2008 and it has been one of the hardest, but yet most rewarding things I have ever done. I have provided this service to 19 families. Each family has touched me in many ways and I will never forget them. I'm so sorry for the losses that they have suffered, but so honored that I was allowed the privilege to meet and photograph their beautiful babies and give them something to treasure of their precious child.
Today I am one of two Area Coordinators for the Indianapolis area. We service all Indianapolis hospitals and surrounding areas. There are 15 wonderful, giving, caring photographers that donate their time to provide services for these families and I can truly say I am a better person for knowing these wonderful people and being part of this organization.
Many people hear about this and ask me how I can do this. The answer is almost impossible to put into words, it's a feeling that is indescribable. The only way I think I can make it make sense is to say this......I am blessed with two beautiful children that I can hug and kiss day and night, these families have lost that ability, they will leave a hospital with nothing more than a memory of their child that they held in their arms for a short time. I can give them something tangible to take home, if only a portrait to hang along with their other family portraits to say "that's my son/daughter, a part of our family." Those final memories of their time with their precious child, we capture and preserve....Always loved; never forgotten.