April 2, 2018 I sit in a hospital bed in a room at the end of a hall that seems 1000 miles long. I've been induced and we are patiently waiting for the arrival of our daughter who had passed away a mere 24 hours before. My husband sitting in a chair beside me with nothing but worry on his 27 year old face, he seems to have aged in the last few hours. I remember wanting to embed every grimace, tear and sigh that came from that mans body, just so I could ensure myself that I wasn't the only one that felt helpless. I remember looking at him and saying with reassurance "it will be okay babe, it will be okay." in which he looked up at me with tears in his eyes and he said "I know I'll be okay, I'm just so worried that this will break you."
Let me tell you this.
When this man openly admitted that he was more worried about how I would cope than anything else in the world, it made me love him more. It made me want to be stronger for him, for Oakley and for our sweet angel Willa Hain. It made me want to show my emotions in the raw, as they surfaced so that my family knew I was hurting and knew that it was okay to hurt and it was okay to cry.
Sometimes when families have to endure tragedy, they don't make it. They bottle everything up inside and don't deal with the roller coaster that is taking over their life, while the world continues to spin round. People try to deal with their grief individually, never letting the other person in... this is what breaks families. I'm not going to lie, this last year has been fucking hard, we have went through many a trial + tribulation but have somehow prevailed.
Sunday, on the 11 month marker of Willas passing, I sat on the edge of my bed and cried. I couldn't pin point what exactly was causing the trigger, but it was probably the fact that I realized its almost been a year, when it feels like yesterday and I literally have no idea how I am going to react on her birthday. I sobbed into my hands, when I heard a little voice. "You cry mama, you Wawa on your face mama, you k?" The voice was Oakleys and I suddenly felt embarrassed as she's never asked me that before, but then I followed through with my own advice, looked my two year old in the face and responded "mamas fine, I'm just missing your sister" and I was honest because I do miss her, long for her and grieve for her because I love her and I will never stop loving her. It was a completely raw, human to human moment and I am thankful for that interaction as Oakley continues to learn about her baby sister in the sky as we prepare for our sweet rainbow. I don't know how I was so blessed to have been handed my husband and my babies but I am incredibly grateful and couldn't imagine doing life with anyone else.
We decided to capture this rainbow baby belly in case we for some reason don't make it to our actual booked session. These photos are taken through the eyes of the man who loves his family more than life itself. These are snapshots of a family whom one year ago had every card stacked against them to crush them, but we are not broken and we won't back down. These are snapshots of grief and of hope.
Friends let the things that should break you, make you stronger. Learn to let vulnerability inspire you and not frighten you. What makes you vulnerable is what makes you human and I think that is a pretty darn beautiful thing.
This is us, this is Backwoods.