My heart is sad as I learned that my little friend, Nathaniel, passed away.
After the Monaghan’s received word from doctors that Nathaniel’s leukemia had become very aggressive, they asked me to come photograph their family. I went to their house several times over the last couple of weeks to capture special moments.
First, I want to say how much I came to love little Nathaniel. His smiles melted my heart and I saw how much of a fighter he was in his battle withleukemia. He’d clap his hands while reading books; he’d push his sister away if he felt like she was in his way. He’d hum along to songs and groove and dance to music. He seemed to know that he was charming, and I fell in love with his character and personality.
Secondly, I realized how much strength Sean and Christina have shown. The thing I admire most is that they are REAL in this process. When I was photographing them, they didn’t hide their tears, they didn’t keep their struggles to themselves, and they didn’t try to cover up their fears. It was hard for me at times to raise my camera to my eye when I saw their lips quiver- and I’ll be honest, I shed plenty of tears while sitting in the corner of their living room taking pictures. But, at the same time, I go back through the pictures I took, and Sean and Christina have smiles on their faces. They chuckled as they told me about things Nathaniel had been doing, or special moments that they had shared as a family. That’s amazing. I appreciate deeply that they allowed themselves to be vulnerable– and they showed ultimate strength just by being real.
I didn’t ever think that being a photographer would have included hospital visits, photographing procedures and chemo treatments, or even photographing someone’s last days on earth. I am aching terribly over Sean and Christina’s loss, and I am so sad that Nathaniel only had a little more than a year here on earth. But Sean and Christina have blessed me more than they could ever know. They are fantastic examples of how to make the most of every opportunity- (They truly did!) I see their love and care for their children, and my heart bursts with love and care for them. I’ll look forward to seeing Nathaniel again in heaven someday.
Please keep the Monaghan’s in your thoughts and prayers.