I was so honored to shoot this family session for Nicola and her beautiful twins a few weeks ago at the beach at Doctor’s Park, given that I have a special place in my heart for her. The way this session came about is incredibly special, and is meant to be in one of those full circle “knowing” moments that seem to be happening to me more and more. Our story begins almost two years ago when my husband, Mark, died unexpectedly. My friends, family and entire community wrapped their arms around me and completely enveloped me in love and support. People I didn’t even know were reaching out to help us in every way imaginable…meals, fundraisers, hand-knit blankets and handmade stuffed animals for the kids…you name it, people did it for us. It was the most incredible display of loving and lifting I had ever seen or experienced and it was for me and my children. I was humbled and honored. Knowing that I was a photographer and have found joy and peace in having so many of my family moments captured over the years, several photographers reached out to volunteer their time and talent photographing various events throughout the weeks following Mark’s death. My friend, Chrissy, photographed the Shorewood High School Tribute and a fundraiser at Lakefront Brewery. Another friend, Andrea, photographed the visitation the night before the funeral. And Nicola, a woman who had never even met me, reached out to some friends of mine and offered to give a full day of her time, photographing Mark’s funeral at Gesu Church and the Celebration of Life at the Knick that night. Some may have found it odd that I had these events photographed, but I am so happy I did because I have come to treasure some of the images captured on those days by these talented women. I am beyond grateful for the generosity, compassion and love they showed me through their time, talent and art.
After the funeral I had the opportunity to meet Nicola on a few occasions, and speaking with her and her children gave me this incredible sense of warmth and love that is difficult to describe. Beyond the gracious and generous gift she gave me, I could just tell what a beautiful person she is inside and out.
Fast forward to a few months ago when I received a message from my dear friend, Annie. She is the administrator of a Buy and Sell Facebook Group in the North Shore called KidsCycle. It started in Shorewood but grew to cover most of Milwaukee’s North Shore and more than that, it grew to be so much more than a Buy and Sell group. It is a beautiful community of people that come together to share, support, love and lift one another and is now known by its motto: Love + Lift. One day last May, Annie reached out to me saying that she had a friend in need of loving and lifting and inquired whether I would be willing to photograph her and her children. I responded “I would love to” and Annie responded with the name of her friend: Nicola. Oh my goodness. One million percent yes! Nicola did this for me when she didn’t even know me and I would be so unbelievably honored to do something special for her…
Thank you, thank you, thank you, Annie and Nicola, for your beautiful hearts and incredible friendships and for allowing me this opportunity to Love + Lift, which truly fed my soul more than you know. XOXO