I have been meaning to share this sibling photography session for far too long. This post has been sitting as a draft for months. I start to write it... then delete. And then try again, only to delete it again. I can never seem to find the right words.
I guess I will start way back at the very beginning. Preschool. Age 3. Kristina became one of my very first friends.
Fast forward to college, where she was my first friend to get married. I traveled down to Southern Oregon for the wedding with a few other childhood friends. There we all celebrated the marriage of Kristina and Andy, who we quickly learned was just all around good guy. He was so nice, open, and friendly, it would be impossible to not like the guy.
After college, the couple settled down in Southern Oregon (where Andy was from and lots of his family still lives). They had one, two, then three adorable tow-headed children. All three kids are a slightly different version of a mini-Andy. And then... Then.
Then comes the hard part. The completely unexpected earth shattering hard part. Andy died.
He had seemed perfectly healthy. He had even completed a 65 mile bike ride a few days earlier! It wasn't until later that they discovered the cause of death was an from an undetected enlarged heart issue. It was condition he was born with, but thankfully is not hereditary.
Kristina and Andy's youngest son had celebrated his first birthday a few months before Andy passed. I just cannot imagine. My heart constricts while I try to write this. I am stuck for words. I don't know how to express it. I don't know how Kristina was able to do it. To go on. But she had to. She had to keep going. She had to keep being mom to three beautiful little people, who look oh-so-much like their daddy.
I was honored to take their photograph a year after Andy had passed away. While he may have been gone, he was still so very much present at the shoot. In the face of Hannah. In the face of Owen. In the face of Evan. In the hearts of them all.