"Some of us have broken stories, some of us have love stories, some of us have both. But it's up to us what we use it for. We can use our story to bring light to others." -Patty
Patty has a broken story that became a love story, and she generously agreed to let me share it with you to accompany her portraits. You see, when Patty was six weeks old, her mother gave her up to foster care. She was already living with her own mother and had another daughter, so she was told this baby couldn't stay. Patty was eventually adopted, but there weren't the background checks there are today. Her adopted mother struggled with addiction while Patty struggled for her approval. She died of alcohol poisoning when Patty was barely an adult, and all that time had never once told her daughter she loved her.
Patty met the man she then married. He loved her in a way she hadn't ever experienced before. He was strong, hardworking, and kind. They raised a beautiful family together, and for nearly two decades Patty traveled the world for her job. (When I asked her how many countries she's visited, she said she didn't know but they just added twenty pages to her passport.) About a year and a half ago while she was on one of these trips, she received one of those phone calls that you have to sit down for. Her husband had unexpectedly passed away.
On the anniversary she wrote, "January 5, 2016-January 5, 2017. One Year. The saddest, longest year of my life, yet still surreal in many ways. Recently, I heard our bodies produce 30 gallons of tears a year. Surely, my tears would have filled a rain barrel this past year." But she didn't lose hope. In fact, she got the word tattooed on her right arm. "I trust The One who transforms the dark night of my soul into sunlight and hope."
I talked with Patty this fall after she saw her friend Rachel's Luxe Portraits. We chatted at one of Rachel's parties, and Patty's comments really struck me. Usually, new clients aren't so specific with their vision for their shoot. But Patty told me at our first meeting about how she envisioned portraits showing her love for her late husband, her heart for travel and the world, and her hope for the future. She wanted to give these portraits to her children and grandchildren.
Yesterday at her Portrait Reveal, I learned why Patty understands the power of portraits. "I grew up wondering what my birth mother looked like. I would sit and daydream about her. My husband and I spent years looking for her, and eventually, in 1989, we found out she had died of cancer 5 years earlier. But we also found out I had an older sister! The first time we talked on the phone, she told me she would mail me photographs of our mother. I'll never forget receiving those in the mail... To finally see the image of the person I imagined most of my adult life was so powerful. And that Christmas, I met my sister for the very first time."
So many people who come to us have a story like this. They've come to understand the unique power of portraits in their own way. And I think there are two kinds of people: those who have personally been impacted by a portrait, and those who will be.
What an honor it was to make your vision come to life, Patty. And someday, long after you're reunited with your husband, some little hands will open your box of portraits and then ask their mother to tell them your story. And what a beautiful ray of light that will be.
With the fullest heart,
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