My last blog post featured photos from a very special photo shoot with one of my favorite clients Kim and her sister Jessica. The session was a gift from Kim to Jessica for Christmas. The session featured Superhero costumes that Jessica had made for her and Kim to wear while going through the stem cell transplant, to treat Kim’s leukemia. We had such fun and got some pretty funny stares. That was the last photo session I would have with Kim. I will never forget at the end of the shoot, she said she was having the time of her life. Even though she had leukemia and had been going through painful medical procedures, had to be covered from head to toe in protective gear so she wouldn’t get an infection, and was spending most of her time in the hospital, she said she was having the time of her life. That struck a cord with me. She said she was crafting, all of her family was visiting her and she was catching up with friends. That was Kim, loving life.
It is with a very heavy heart that I write this post. Kim passed away on Monday morning. Even though I knew she was preparing for it by the things she said in our late night texts, it still feels like a jolt to the system. Kim was 36 years old, happily married to an amazing man and had twin, two year old girls. It just doesn’t seem right.
I remember my first string of emails from Kim inquiring about maternity and newborn session in 2011. I loved her energy and could tell we were going to be a good fit. Her and Ben were an awesome couple and so fun to photograph. Then the babies came. In her email the day she brought home Sadie, I noticed a different spelling for Rilka, the baby who had to stay at the hospital a little longer. I followed her spelling while emailing back. Then Kim said to forgive her cloudy brain, that she had spelled her daughters name wrong. I knew we would be friends! Someone like me!
Kim was a perfect client. She appreciated what I did as a photographer. She was already planning photo album keepsakes for her girls, long before she got leukemia. She loved the photos that I loved, the ones that showed the little nuances of daily life. A lot of my clients don’t pick the ones I would pick. They want to see happy, smiling faces. Those are great and your kids will love looking back at the not so perfect ones as well, trust me.
Kim had me come for many photo shoots to capture the girls fun personalities. Our friendship grew. I love that my job allows me to peak into people’s lives and to document them, as I see them. To make friends from clients. It really is the best job. When Kim got Leukemia we started doing more frequent sessions. I loved seeing the family and couldn’t believe she was sick and going through treatment. She was always full of life and energy. Her and Ben cracked me up, while they were entertaining the girls for the sessions. Always tons of laughs. I felt like I was visiting family when I went to photograph Kim, Ben and the girls.
Kim loved to run. She was a huge inspiration to me when I started training for the Nike Half Marathon. She would always encourage me and send me her “pump up” songs. I would tell her I was taking her with me on my runs and would send her videos. Our group ran with Tee shirts that said we were running for Kim. Everyone yelled her name as we crossed the finish line. It was very touching. Ben ran the Nike Half in Kim’s honor as well. He texted me to see how I liked the run. I was still running! It was so funny.
I really loved her energy and our texting conversations. I am so lucky to have met her and got to know her. Looking back at all of the photos I have taken makes me sad because she will be missed and it makes me happy that her family will have these photos to remember her by. I know her girls will love seeing how much their mommy loved them. It is so obvious in every photo.
Kim loved Ben and Kim loved her girls. Kim loved her family and Kim loved her friends. She was full of love. She lived life to the fullest. She will be missed greatly.