Two weeks ago we lost out sweet girl Luna and yesterday we lost our old man cat McCavity. 

I’m going to painfully honest here. I hope you will tough it out with me.

I have tons of pictures of them both.  Beautiful photos of their loving faces.  What I don’t have are photos of me with them.  I’ve spent so many years hiding behind the camera because I was uncomfortable with my weight.  In more recent years, I have really made an effort to get in front of the camera; because I know when my kids look back at these memories they are not thinking about my weight or my hair or whatever else.  They are looking at their mom, and remembering how much fun we had.

But this loss has taught me another lesson. 

I will never have those moments with my fur babies again. I will never throw a ball or run with Luna again. I will never have McCavity climb up on my chest and snuggle in. Why didn’t I have someone capture all of us together?  I’ll tell you one reason, because it would’ve been hard.  I will tell you now though, that it would’ve been so completely worth it. I would die to have images like the ones I take for my clients. Maybe this is why it so much harder for me to accept; because I know better.

As hard as it was, I documented every moment of Luna’s last day. We bought her ice cream. We watched as she tried to play with Pippa (my in-laws dog) and Pepper, but struggled to stand.  She watched as they wrestled, longing to join in. I watched as my boys sat as close to her as possible, trying to soak in every last moment. I watched as she shook uncontrollably from the muscle spasms and pain. I watched as she sat in my husband’s lap and stared out the window as the neighbor kids played in the street. I watched as Pepper paced next to Luna’s bed, while we said goodbye. I watched as my children’s hearts broke.  I still can’t bare to look at those photos, but one day I know I will want them. 

18 years of Cat life and I have a handful of pictures of us together.  One of those being as he was taking his last breaths and James (my oldest) snapped a photo on the vet’s camera.  Like me, looking through the camera made the experience easier on my poor kids.

After both losses, I went on the search for photos of them. I needed to see them the way I wanted to remember them; not the current snapshots I had in my head.  

I found beautiful memories. Luna was always the most beautiful model.  She would look right at me and wait.  She was always so gentle with the kids, even when they would try to climb on her or pull her tail. I found photos of the her with the boys, with the cats, with other kids, with Pepper.  But there was always one thing missing; me.  I cannot tell you how much I regret that choice.  Even a selfie with her would make me feel better.  You can bet that the next family photos we have done will include our pets.  

I write this because I don’t want you to make my mistakes.  Get in the photos. Get in the moment.  Have that stranger take your photo of you all on your hike, or in the pool, or at the beach, or doing whatever it is that makes your family yours; and if you can include your fur babies!  But please, please, please, get in the photo.

Finding Purpose

With all of this loss, I have truly found my why.  Why I take portraits the way I do. Why I want to capture the real moments, not just the posed ones. Why I make you get in the photos with your pets. Why I sneak in photos of you loving on your kids. Why I love capturing love, and hope, and laughter.  I have truly found my purpose.

 

 

18 Comments

  1. Kathy on September 7, 2018 at 11:01 am

    This a a very sweet blog, you’re so right.. we all need to follow your advice

  2. Candice on September 7, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    I’m so so sorry for your loss sweet friend. It’s so important to document any time you possibly can because life does not last forever. Thinking about you <3

  3. Audrey on September 7, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    I am sooooo sorry for your losses my friend, losing your fur babies is so tough. But you make an excellent point, in that we NEED to be in front of the lens more often, not just behind it. And we also need to take more family pictures, with fur babies included!!!!

  4. Kate Lynn on September 7, 2018 at 3:50 pm

    Girl I am so sorry you are feeling such pain. I hope the pictures you do have of them bring you joy ❤️

  5. Tashamonique Puckey on September 7, 2018 at 4:01 pm

    My heart is with you sweet girl! The pain you are feeling can’t be filled, you just learn to live with it

  6. Lauren on September 7, 2018 at 4:09 pm

    I’m so sorry for your losses.

  7. Lindsay on September 7, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    This is the sweetest most sentimental blog post! Sending you all my love and hugs!!

  8. Carly on September 7, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    Wow, I know exactly how you feel. I’ve lost a couple dogs old dogs and it never gets easier. I’m thinkin of you during this difficult time.

  9. Mandi on September 7, 2018 at 5:07 pm

    Last year I lost my cat and best friend of 18 years, Diva. It’s the toughest loss I’ve ever dealt with, but it does get easier with time. Life has brought two new furballs into my life and they have not replaced her, but added more room for joy in my heart!

  10. Marir on September 7, 2018 at 5:22 pm

    I always say take photos and get them made! This is why!! Time flies.

  11. Emily-Melissa Walker on September 7, 2018 at 5:37 pm

    You are so right. I wrote about something like this a few weeks ago — we have to get in those photos. It’s imperative.

  12. Vanessa Hicks on September 7, 2018 at 6:59 pm

    Girl, just right in the feels today! So sorry for your loss love!

  13. Tricia on September 7, 2018 at 8:29 pm

    Oh sweet lady! My heart goes out to you. You are 100% correct. Big hugs friend!

  14. Tracy on September 7, 2018 at 8:35 pm

    Losing fur babies is so very difficult! I’ve been thinking of you. Please reach out if you need to talk. They were both so beautiful!

  15. Shannon White on September 7, 2018 at 8:47 pm

    So sorry friend! Grieving is always difficult.

  16. Ashton kelley on September 7, 2018 at 9:41 pm

    Definitely got me crying today, and ready to break out my camera and update the photos of our little fur babies. Sending you hugs, friend!

  17. Raina on September 7, 2018 at 9:44 pm

    My heart absolutely goes out to you. And thank you for sharing such a personal snapshot of your life through your words. It is so true. We need to be better about getting ourselves in front of the camera rather than always staying off in the wings watching the action happen around us. Memory preservation. Such a strong lesson. Thank you for posting this.

  18. Fran Jorgensen on September 7, 2018 at 9:58 pm

    oh no! My doggy is now 12 years old and she is in great shape but I can’t help it but think that she will be gone one day …

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