Seems that every cause has a month to commemorate it. Some only have days - for instance, last week hosted National Pasta Day! October, though, is the month that is near and dear to my heart for a particular reason. This is the month for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness.
I have not lost a child, so I can not say that I understand that pain and grief. But I can offer families my service as a photographer with Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, an organization founded in 2005 by Cheryl Haggard and photographer Sandy Puc. Cheryl's son Maddux passed away at 6 days old, and his mom and dad wanted photographs of him to help them remember him. She called Sandy for her professional services and together with another mother who had suffered a loss, they realized that this was a service that should be made available to everyone who needed it. NILMDTS was formed in Colorado by Cheryl and Sandy as a non-profit 501(c)(3) and now, 11 years later, there are volunteer photographers helping families internationally.
I am proud of this work I do. Most people can not imagine taking on this incredible responsibility. This is the family's only chance for portraits with the child for whom they waited, dreamed, and hoped. They are saying hello and goodbye almost in the same breath. Heart wrenching sadness, stun and shock fill the room, but overriding all of those emotions is love. Love for this darling angel who left too soon. I am there to capture images of that love, though that will never be forgotten. What I give them are images of curls and tiny fingers and bow-shaped lips - those details that may eventually fade; I take photographs so they will always be there to go back and visit.
Next week there will be a candle-lighting service during which we will remember all the angels who have left us. I have had some wonderful people helping me organize this event, and we hope to be able to continue to hold it every year. I think it is so important to recognize and honor these too-short lives who have had great impact. Every life, no matter how short, makes a difference.
I am working to make a difference with mine.