I was listening to a storytelling podcast this morning before I wrote this blog that was bizarrely about mourning lost ones. Kate Braestrup said it best, “Walk fearlessly into the house of mourning. Grief is just love squaring up to its oldest enemy.”
I was contacted by my dear friend Molly a while back about documenting the memorial funeral of her passed grandfather who had been in the U.S. Air Force in World War II. I knew this was a sensitive and unique opportunity and I was honored to have been asked and trusted with such a life event. I tell all of my wedding couples that there are two times in your life that everyone you love is in the same room as you…your wedding and your funeral. I spend every weekend at weddings, and spending a Saturday at a funeral really brought this home for me. I’ve never experienced a funeral as a photographer, just a family member and a friend. I didn’t quite know what to expect…but I went into it with an open heart, and an open mind looking for a story to tell.
Molly has been in the U.S. Army for 10 years and took upon the duty of giving the American Flag away to her grandmother. What a special, proud moment this was. Not only for Molly, but for her family and her daughter. It’s amazing to watch your friend present this gift in uniform…but amazing to watch her family be so proud of her taking on this responsibility. One of the moments I’ll never forget is overhearing Molly explain to her daughter what the folded flag means and why she would be giving it away to her grandma. Hearing her explain so softly and so delicately for her to understand…and watching her daughter listen so carefully. It choked me up.
While there was much grief to observe and feel on this day, there were so many other feelings to go along with it. Family brought together to remember someone dear, special, and monumental; laughs over memories; quiet thoughts of moving forward without a loved one.
To the Lewis and Diller families…thank you for trusting me with this life event. This was a special day and I am completely honored to have been a part of it.
As I said at the beginning, Kate Braestup said it best, “Walk fearlessly into the house of mourning. Grief is just love squaring up to its oldest enemy.”