Hello to everyone,
A very special note today. I am actually not sure where to even begin so please be patient with me. This is going to be a long post too. There is no easy way to explain all of this and so many people to thank. So, settle in:)
Let’s rewind to the late fall of 2008. I am scrolling through my facebook feed and lay my eyes upon the wonderful work of, Christine Kufske, from CLICK photography. When I visited her website I was deeply moved by the Smiling Eyes Project she founded. Christine and her Smiling eyes team have been photographing children and adults who are terminally ill or in remission for six years. What an incredible gift Christine gives to people.
When I started my own photography business I knew that I wanted to give the gift of photos some how. Until now, I just hadn’t found that “thing” I wanted to do. I thought about it often. Had many ideas. Four years later. This is it.
Last fall, I had the great honour of meeting and photographing, Marny and Beth. Marny and Beth both lost their husbands when their children were very young. A situation neither of them ever imagined themselves in. Marny and Beth have taken those experiences and have committed their time, energy and hearts to other young widows by opening the Hummingbird Center for Hope. An organization that provides continuing bereavement support to men and women after the death of their spouse or partner.
Beth booked me for a photo session with her two children last fall. It was the first session that she had done since Scott died. I remember feeling sadness that day. Knowing there should have been someone else in those photos. I could feel him there. I could feel Beth behind me watching me photograph her children. I could only imagine what was going through her mind. I distinctly remember feeling great hope too. They were building new memories. We had a lot of laughs and we left feeling happy. I left that shoot feeling inspired.
It was a few weeks later that I ran into Marny at Starbucks. It was through a conversation with her that I had one of those (Oprah) AHA! moments. That’s it. I was going to donate my time to photographing families who had lost immediate family members. My work was going to be a stepping stone to re-building and creating new memories for families. That is where my energy was best suited and where I knew I could best serve those who were healing their broken hearts.
And with that Another Door Opens came to be. I want to thank Christine, Marny and Beth for being my inspiration. For guiding my soul towards the path in which I was to give back with my photography and my life.
I could not have done this without an incredible team of women. Mandy, Sarah, Melanie and Emilee. My heart is bursting with pride as I write this to you. I am so proud to call you all friends (and family to Emilee!) and to have you involved in this special project. Mandy spent many hours on the website and many many hours listening to me talk about this project:) Mandy – you have been a true gift to my life. Sarah, from the Design Truth donated her time and incredible skills to the logo for ADO and the beautiful packaging and branding. Sarah – your incredible energy for my never ending ideas and requests is appreciated more than you will ever know. I could not have done this without you both. Truly, I am thankful.
Melanie (a wonderful client of mine) and Emilee (my cousin!) will be a very important part of this project going forward as Another Door Opens expands into the community. A lifetime of thank you’s would never be enough. You have touched my soul for stepping up and saying, “yes”, we are behind you on this! You are the perfect fit for Another Door Opens.
I also want to thank the Jordan family who you see in the photo below. They are my first ADO family. You are why I am doing this. You touched my soul and I am forever grateful that our paths crossed in life:)
Please take the time to read through ADO website. Each tab has information about all of us and about the concept. It also features two sessions that have been photographed for Another Door Opens and their reflections on the experience. I am committing two sessions a month through the fall. I would eventually like to have other photographers to help in giving this gift to families. Baby steps for now:)
I also want to thank my Mom. It’s crazy to think that I only told her about ADO this week! We talk almost everyday but somehow I just worked away quietly with a small team to bring this to life. I was overwhelmed with my Mom’s support and response when I told her about it. I will be 39 this year. And to this day, nothing feels better than a Mom’s blessing and joy for what you do. She left me with this note tonight, “The work you are doing is exceptional. You have brought joy into so many people’s lives. A true artist.” Thank you Mom:)
Much love and many thanks,
Here’s to remembering. Here’s to new memories.