January 10, 2013 · Personal
I can now say I have no fear of death. Prior to Owen, I had little experience with it. I’d been to funerals and such, but I had never been present for that “moment.” That last moment where a person leaves this earth. To be honest, I don’t know if I will ever get to experience that again. We were there for it all, and it seemed completely natural to me. Painful? Absolutely. But, I held his little body for hours that night after he passed. Not wanting our time to end. Knowing fully that at some point, I had to put him down and walk out of the room.
At Owen’s calling hours, I must have stroked his hair and kissed his forehead and cheeks a million times. I know he wasn’t in there, but he didn’t scare me. He was still my baby and I wanted to soak in as much of him as I could for the short time we had left with him. I caressed his sweet little nose and delicate eyelashes. I wanted to remember everything. I was doing all I could to create as many memories as possible. Memories that would have to sustain me for a lifetime without him.
I am beyond blessed to have some absolutely amazing friends. Corey, from Corey Ann Photography, is one of them. Our relationship started out professional and grew immensely from there. She’s the type of person who will do anything for you, and I know that about her. She has one of the biggest hearts and I love her for that. When we were planning Owen’s calling hours, I wanted to have photos of him set up around the room. Without hesitation, I called on Corey. She edited, printed, framed and delivered numerous hospital photos I had taken on my iPhone. She just took care of it for me, no questions asked, and in record time.
Corey is not afraid of death, either. Because of her giving nature and willingness to help, I knew I could present an unusual request and she would unflinchingly respond, “Absolutely.” I wanted photos of us with Owen. As a photographer, I cherish pictures. When I heard about the seriousness of Owen’s condition, I realized early on in my pregnancy that I would never have a newborn photo shoot with him. That’s a hard pill to swallow as a photographer. I’ve taken photos of other people’s babies, and wouldn’t get to do that with my own. I wasn’t looking to accomplish this “awesome” photo shoot at a funeral home. Instead, I was just desperately trying to create memories any way I could. I didn’t want to regret NOT doing it.
This was one of the only times we really got to see Owen without all of his tubes and wires. We could finally see his face in its entirety without some part of it being covered. This was what he looked like in clothes when we only got to see him in a diaper. I wanted tangible memories of this.
We met Corey at the funeral home the morning of Owen’s funeral service. With such tenderness and sensitivity, Corey took photos of something she had never attempted before. This is not the photo shoot I had imagined for our little family, but I am so thankful I had the presence of mind to ask for it.
Click here for the very beginning of our 8 year journey through life, loss and our unexpected struggle with secondary infertility. Starting with what we shared at our 3-week-old son, Owen’s, funeral.