A Celebration of Life, More Than Just Images

This is a tough blog for me to write, but sometimes the hardest things are the most important things to do! This certainly is one of them. I am literally typing this while tears run down my face, there's so many emotions involved in this blog. I hope you will take this journey with me, to celebrate life.


In October of 2017 I did a breast cancer campaign where I asked women to nominate someone in their life who is fighting or a survivor of breast cancer. When this story came to my inbox and I opened and read it I cried. Tears rolling down my face I knew without a doubt in that moment that I had to capture this woman if she's allow me to. I contacted Gemma and said, yes I want to photograph your friend, and we cried both over text over the joy and the fulfillment we were already starting to see happen and that was between us, not even with the amazing woman I had yet to meet.
Breast cancer awareness is very important to me because my own mother has been diagnosed with breast cancer 3x now. One of the many reasons Elizabeth's story hit me so hard, is there are many parallels with her story as my mothers as they both have been diagnosed with stage 4 incurable breast cancer.

Elizabeth and I spoke on the phone and I'd say for a couple hours and it felt like we already knew each other. I think we were both grateful for each other and we wanted to capture this journey for the right reasons. I couldn't WAIT to meet this amazing woman who I had connected with over the phone. To give her the biggest hug and hopefully bring her a smile.

Elizabeth's session was different than any other session I've ever done before. NOT because she's different, but the REASON for it was different. This is not only a celebration of who she is now, but will be a celebration of her as a woman when she's gone. Elizabeth's journey will one day end as her cancer has no cure and it has spread to her bones. This day will be an incredibly heartbreaking day for so many people, most of all for her husband and 4 children. Elizabeth one day will have no more tomorrow's, so she is thankful for today.  I hear so many women say "I'll book a session when..."{insert a list of excuses they tell themselves}, but what happens when you do not know how many tomorrows you have? I mean really, do we know that?? Things can change tomorrow, then can change in 5 minutes from now, or even as you read this. We are not guaranteed ANYTHING. My own mother's journey has taught me this and Elizabeth is another incredible reminder, that life as you know it can change at the blink of an eye. I am SO thankful that Elizabeth didn't let anything hold her back. The fact that she had to sit in a car probably in more pain that she told me, from Canmore to Calgary to have her session with her husband. She simply arrived with a huge smile on her face, jars of jam, and big huge hugs for Michelle and I. We sat and gabbed while Michelle did her hair and makeup, we laughed and we also spoke about serious subjects as well. Elizabeth talked proudly about her husband and how they met, and her kids and how proud she was of them. 
Elizabeth may have had limitations during her sessions, I tried to be aware of these throughout the entire time, she would rarely tell me she hurt or was in discomfort even though I knew she probably was. She had a desire to celebrate her, to showcase her beauty and to remember she was more than this dreaded "C" word, because she is I tell you! Elizabeth has a heart so full of love to share, she is funny as heck, we sang, we danced, we had a blast! 

I will allow Elizabeth to share in her own words what her thoughts of this day were. I can tell you though, Elizabeth, you've changed my word hun, you've impacted my heart and soul. So much love to you.

 

Elizabeth's Interview

How would you describe your session with me?: Extraordinary, empowering, fun!

Please describe to me your Boudoir Experience:

I used to feel beautiful and sexy pretty much every day. Stage 4 incurable breast cancer that spread to me bones took that from me. Chronic pain, weight gain from treatment and the inability to exercise has taken away the way I’ve always seen myself. When I said yes to a session, my attitude was why not, this is likely as good as I’ll ever look again!! 
Shannon made me comfortable and we laughed and chatted our way through the session. Michelle worked her make up magic and between the two of them I felt like a queen. The images are stunning, I can hardly believe how beautiful they are. I enjoy them and my husband will have this incredible reminder of me when I am gone.