May 24, 2011

I don’t sell paper

The studio line rang early this morning. I wasn’t even out of bed. I tried to clear my voice the best I could before I answered so as not to suggest that I wasn’t actually up yet.

The voice on the other end was shattered. I tried to make sense of what was being said. It was hard to understand through the sobs… But I got out a name, Heidi. This was Heidi’s mom calling. I had gone to sleep last night thinking about Heidi – After doing her Senior Pictures last year we’d become friends. I would see her at Jamba, she even babysat for me…. She’s my kid’s favorite! That’s why I’d gone to bed thinking about her. She hadn’t returned my text about babysitting this Friday night. I was surprised. I went to bed thinking I would call her in the morning.

… The tears, the sobbing, the ache penetrated through the phone. I felt my own tears begin sliding down my face as it all came together. 

Photographs for her siblings, wallets for her friends, something for the funeral. Heidi was gone.

Her mom was calling me not to plan her graduation party as she should be but instead a funeral that was coming a half of a century to soon.

Right now I’m in ROES ordering wallets for friends who are trying to grasp how they just lost such a bright light, prints for siblings who can’t believe that they’ve already received the last hug (in this life) from her and large prints for a funeral being planned by parents who can’t comprehend how they went from planning for college to planning for this. I’m in a blur today and I guess in the middle of choosing print sizes and poses it hit me to hard and well… I just needed to talk.

It’s not the paper that means anything at all. It’s not the paper that we sell. It’s what’s on that paper…. It’s WHO’S on that paper that makes what we do so important.

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  1. Wendy says:

    Im so sorry for everyone’s loss. What a beautiful girl!! I keep everyone in my prayers.

  2. Kendall Stoy says:

    Wow – tearing up thinking of the hurt going on in that community. Glad you can do your part for them 🙁

  3. Idie says:

    What an awful way to be reminded that we are not just selling pieces of paper! The only positive is that they have your beautiful photos to remember a beautiful person. My heart goes out to her family.

  4. Tina B says:

    Oh my goodness…my prayers are being sent to everyone…it just shows how important it is to document life through images and hug everyone you love every day. God Bless Them All.

  5. Ramona says:

    God bless . . prayers sent for her, the family . . and you. ♥

  6. Tabitha says:

    My prayers go out to Heidi’s family and friends! It is such a blessing to be able to help a family during times like these!

  7. Sara says:

    Prayers for you, her family, and her friends. My heart hurts when I hear these kinds of things. No parent should have to plan their child’s funeral. I will keep your community in my thoughts during such a rough time.

  8. Stephanie says:

    What a blessing as her family tries to cope that they have these images of their beautiful daughter. I am so sorry for the loss and will keep her family in my prayers.

  9. Katie Fulton says:

    Tearing up after reading not only a beautifully written post, but also thinking about the loss of such a beautiful and young girl. My thoughts and prayers go to her family, her friends, and to you. Such a sad situation.

  10. Susan says:

    Oh my gosh, this makes me cry. I am so sorry and will pray for you and this family. What a beautiful young lady. What a sad sad thing.

  11. Misti says:

    Absolutely devastating.

  12. Marissa says:

    My thoughts and prayers go out to you and her family. It breaks my heart to hear something like this…

  13. Prescilla says:

    I am so sorry for everyone’s loss. I’ll be praying for everyone.

  14. katie settel says:

    I went through the same call from a client, it was the father three weeks after their shoot. I send you my warmest thoughts in your process your feelings as well as your work and wishes to the family as well.

    And what a gift you gave them all, I see it in the image above.
    Hang in there and thank you for posting.

    Katie

  15. Beja says:

    What an amazing tribute you are helping create! Praying for joy and peace over the unthinkable.

    • Leah Remillet says:

      I know this is incredibly random… But I just love your name! It always stands out to me when you comment. It’s so pretty! …And thank you! You guys are exactly what I needed. I can literally feel all the prayers. I feel lighter.

  16. Candice says:

    So sorry for the loss of a young life. My heart goes out to you, your family and Heidi’s family as well.

  17. Kandy Chimento says:

    My heart aches for this family. So glad you provided such beautiful memories for them.

  18. SO sad. i heard a similar story from a mother who DIDNT get her daughters photos taken in time. they didn’t have any real images to use or even post in her home. your client will cherish those images forever. so sorry for your loss. *hugs*

  19. Melissa says:

    I am so sorry for the loss everyone has experienced, it’s always incredibly sad when such a young light is taken from the world. But I’m sure her family is thankful for the moments in time you’ve captured for them.

  20. This is so sad. I will keep them in my prayers. I would love to repost this on my photography blog (with your full credit and permission). It demonstrates the importance of investing in photography.

  21. Ashley says:

    My jaw is still dropped. Many prayers going out tonight.

  22. sad…so very sad.
    my heart is breaking for the family and everyone who knew her….and your kids too leah ! it will be hard for them not to have their”favorite”.
    i can’t imagine having to go through what heidi’s mom is going through.
    another reminder…to live life to the fullest because you never know when it will be yours or a loved ones turn.
    my prayers are with everyone who knew heidi.

  23. Kathy says:

    My heart is broken. 🙁

    • Leah Remillet says:

      Kathy – You know better then anyone. We’ve dealt with a lot of tragedy this year. Hugs to you.

  24. Rhonda says:

    Wow. I’m praying for her family, you, your family, her friends – that God will be their peace and comfort during this difficult time and in the months to come.

  25. brigita says:

    I am praying for everybody – such a beautiful girl.

  26. Stephanie J. says:

    May God’s grace be a comfort to Heidi’s family, friends, and all the people that she touched in her young life.

  27. Silvana says:

    Praying for her family. What a great loss.

  28. Marcie says:

    This is truly one of the reasons that I feel so passionate about family photography. Just last year my niece passed away before her second birthday. I felt so HONORED to have been able to take her portraits and family pictures from the time she was a baby. When I saw the slideshow of her short sweet life I was so grateful that her mom was passionate about documenting their family story. Photographs mean the world to me.

  29. i look forward to seeing that there is blog to read from go4pro on my google reader. today this was not what i expected and am heartbroken for this family. as i write i am holding my 2 month old newborn and praying for that family. i cant imagine what they are going through and hope they lean on each other to get through this devastating time. your pictures will be a reminder of a beautiful life! being a photographer and capturing peoples lives is so meaningful and its unfortunately moments like these where we stop and…… just stop…..which we don’t do often enough. i will keep praying for this mother to be strong during this time.

  30. Alison says:

    Leah, I saw this on facebook last night and didn’t have time to read it until today. My heart breaks for you and your family, for this young lady’s family and for the whole community. Thank you for doing everythign that you do- with photography with this blog, and for finding the words to share this with us and remind us the very important reasons we pick up that camera. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  31. She’s beautiful, and this speaks volumes to why we do what we do. Your pictures will mean the world to her family and friends now. So SO sorry for your loss.

    Thoughts and prayers.

  32. Noa says:

    Wow, Leah, how devastating. And shocking. I am so sorry…. I will keep her family and friends in my thoughts and prayers. ***HUGS***

  33. Sarai says:

    I feel for you. A picture I’d taken a couple of years ago is currently used for a close family member’s funeral. It’s easy to forget the intangible value of an image until this happens.

  34. Veronica says:

    I’m so sorry. My heart goes out to you and her friends & family. My prayers are with you all.

  35. Christine says:

    my heart is breaking for her family. hugs. what a great loss.

  36. Jana says:

    oh my goodness, I was NOT expecting this post to be about this at all! I am so very sorry. Praying for peace and contentment for the family and friends. Your photographs are just beautiful by the way, and I know that family is going to be so incredibly blessed by them. xo

  37. Lee Ann says:

    This breaks my heart – but isn’t it just a beautifully sad reminder of the important work that we do. Photographs capture heart, and soul, and personality, and are treasured because they freeze time – capture that beautiful baby’s smile, the pout of the toddler, the excitement and confidence of the teenager, the love and hope of a new bride….these moments are precious even with the subject standing right next to us – but when they’ve gone from us, they are even more precious. Beautiful photos of a beautiful girl. I hope you find peace in knowing that you’ve given this family something precious of their lost angel.

  38. It’s amazing how I just find out that a friend’s girlfriend (who was far too young—mid 20’s) just passed away a couple days ago.

    Just after sending him a message…tears still streaming down my face…

    I stumble upon this post.

    It makes me realize that we aren’t promised tomorrow. So eye-opening in so many different ways!

    I’m sorry for your loss. Thank you for posting this.

  39. Kristin says:

    unbelievable.. I just remember seeing her pictures on your blog just a few months ago when you were explaining you’re in home studio set up. So sad. So sudden. So sorry for her parents, family, friends.. and her photographer, you, of course. 🙁 In my prayers.

  40. Lisa says:

    I’m crying. And thank you for reminding me why I started taking photos in the first place. Hugs.

  41. Nicole says:

    Prayers to you, her family and friends! A heartfelt reminder of precious life and the memories we make. {{hugs}}

  42. Michelle says:

    This is so heartbreaking!! 🙁 So sorry for the loss of this beautiful soul!

  43. Tara says:

    So sad, prayers and love to all her family and friends. x

  44. Kris Hinh says:

    As a photographer myself, I totally feel your pain. Some clients are like the best we have ever had, and yet like this one. Life, its gift that we have and at any given day, it can just disappear. I am going to share this on my facebook wall. Hope you don’t mind.

  45. As a photographer and a mother of a daughter who is graduating in just over a week from high school this story made me ball like a baby. So sorry for the family, friends and lost loved one. 🙁

  46. Relyn says:

    This is my first time here, the first post of yours that I ever read… and here I am crying. Crying, of course, in pain for the family who has lost so much. But, crying to, with recognition. Because what you do, what I am learning to do, is so important. Because you said it so exactly right. Thank you for sharing your heart here. And for touching mine.

    • Leah Remillet says:

      Relyn, I’m so sorry this first post left you in tears!! I promise it’s usually very uplifting – but it is genuinely me so it’s the good, sad and ugly sometimes. Stick with Go{4}Pro! I think you’ll be happy you did!

  47. Sara Fife says:

    I cant stop my tears, so sorry for her family’ Im sending all my prayers to them. Simply cant imagine their pain.
    I read this somewhere and often use on my blog, “Today’s photographs are tomorrow’s memories”

  48. My photographer-daughter Crystal posted your link on her FB business page.. Twelve years ago May 22, 1999 she lost her beautiful ‘baby’ sister.. I lost my youngest child, Lora Beth. I know only too well the sheer horror her parents are enduring even as I type this. Please feel free to share Lora’s memorial website with her (there is a very large section on it about Heaven, as well as a few of my early journaling pages linked on the Facing Loss page). Also my email address. I cannot take her pain away — but I can listen, and listen with a heart that has been there (and several times a year, I still *am* there). Sometimes venting to another grieving parent, especially one you don’t really know and therefore has no personal agenda beyond sharing, is exactly the thing you need to make it through one more hour, one more day. I will be praying for the entire family. (And very poignant post – thank you.)

  49. Janet says:

    This just breaks my heart. My prayers for the family and for you. But in all of this the blessing you gave her mother with the beautiful memories of her daughter will be cherrished forever.

  50. Jacquelyn says:

    I’m so sorry for the loss. I’m glad you were able to give them such a gift.

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