Sometimes, you just have to let your clients share their own stories, because they feel from such a deep place. Today I want to share the story from one of my new heroes…
“My story began with a picture.
A friend of mine was leaving on a deployment and we had a going away party for him. A bunch of pictures were taken of our group that night. Something for him to take with him when he missed home. During training before he went overseas he met Chris. A soldier deploying with his unit (one that Chris had volunteered for). Chris looked at the pictures. He always said out of everyone in the photo he only saw me. He fell in love instantly and knew he had to talk to me. One night our mutual friends tricked me and I ended up on the phone with him. We began talking several hours every night on the phone and writing letters/emails to each other. On deployments (back then) letters, occasional emails (Internet was still dial up and spotty) and pictures are all you have. It’s how you spend time together. Get to know one another. After 3 months he flew me to Bulgaria to meet him in person. We spent 4 days together and knew we were done looking. We had the most incredible first kiss. I remember being in the hotel lobby in Bulgaria waiting with Diego (Chris’ friend) and seeing him for the first time. I remember what he was wearing (blue sweater with a blue plaid button up underneath, of course collar popped, jeans and brown boots). I can still see him walk towards me. I remember the pit in my stomach full of butterflies. I remember rubbing my hands together because I was so nervous. All we said to eachother was Hi. I know Diego was there talking to us but he seemed to disappear and we were all that was left. I can even remember how he smelled. I was worried our phone conversations would be just that. But in person it was like I had known him my whole life. For 9yrs we never ran out of things to talk about. Being best friends is what held us together through all the crazy and madness life threw at us. Having my best friend is what I miss the most. When his deployment was over he moved to NY (he’s my southern man) and in with me. We were married a year later, another 15month deployment, and had our daughter 9 months after he returned (fittingly named Sofia after Sofia, Bulgaria). We lost Chris suddenly (his death has been connected to his service) in 2013.
This session means so much to me in so many ways. He would of loved them all. Not just because of how amazing I look, because he thought I was beautiful at my worst, but for how I was able to see myself after. He would of been so proud and so happy that I could finally see what he saw when he looked at me. Pure Radiance. I chose special outfits for the session I dedicated to him. The sweater from our first date in Bulgaria, the first piece of lingerie I wore for him, one of his tshirts and of course his uniform. The details Lindsay incorporated were beyond perfect. The typewriter symbolizing how our relationship began, his dog tags with memorial flag and the close up of my heart tattoo (the heart is Chris’ handwriting taken from one of the letters he had written me). The photo of my rings is stunning and for a widow so meaningful. When you are married they become a part of who you are, to think about not wearing them everyday breaks your heart a little more. To have them so beautifully captured as a work of art for my home so I can see them everyday makes my heart smile and a little lighter.
This has been such a long and painful journey for me. I hide it all very well because I’ve had to get use to faking it. But reflecting on my experience has made me incredibly emotional. For 9 years I had someone who loved me unconditionally and told me every second how unbelievably beautiful I was and made a point to tell me how radiant I was when I felt my worst. I became so accustomed to having that. When I lost him and didn’t hear it daily anymore I truly began to struggle with my self esteem. I hadn’t realized how much of my confidence came from being with the man I loved. It was a beautiful thing to have. I miss it everyday. In the thick of my grief I wasn’t able to take care of myself. I sacrificed myself so that I could take care of my daughter and our home and I even struggled to do that on a daily basis. I lost everything. I lost our dreams and hopes for the future. My best friend. My biggest cheerleader. I lost myself and sense of worth. Which was incredibly difficult for someone as strong as myself. Confidence in myself is something I always had. To lose such a big part of who I was…it was a devastating secondary loss. I’ve worked hard to get myself healthy and in shape so I can be the best possible version of myself for my daughter and for me. Even though I know I am in shape and healthy I still struggle with my confidence. It’s a work in progress regaining that. I will say after my session, reveal and seeing myself in those images, I’m in awe of myself. In my strength. For the first time in a long time I feel beautiful and can see what Chris saw all those years.
…I’m in awe of myself. In my strength. For the first time in a long time I feel beautiful and can see what Chris saw all those years…
That is a gift Lindsay gave me that I can never repay. Doing this with her, for him and myself has been exactly what I needed. To honor him and our marriage. To be able to have these images as a time stamp of the past decade of my life and the journey I’ve been on. It’s a feeling I can’t describe. Thank you doesn’t even begin to convey what I truly feel. I am ridiculously gorgeous. Not just on the outside but inside and that is so perfectly captured in Lindsay’s photos. I love how it has all come full circle. Nobody understands more then I do how a picture can change your life. My life changed forever in 2004 because of one.
Our story began with a picture, it’s only fitting that our story ends with a picture.”
This #LRPBoudieBeauty has been the inspiration behind our new Our Heroes Program.
So often we forget about the unsung heroes of our military and armed forces. The females in combat, stationed at home, the nurses, the doctors, the engineers, the women who stay behind to be pillars of strength for those off to combat. These unsung heroes are who have inspired our new “Our Heroes Program.” Our new Imperial Album is the same as our 30 page 9×12 Opulent Album, but the new cover is an ode to old war bomber jackets and a masculine and sophisticated way to gift your images to your mate or to celebrate your journey as an American Hero.
Any woman who is an active member of our military or married to an active member of our military will receive 10% off their Self Love Experience session fee as well as 10% of any Imperial Album purchases will be donated to T.A.P.S., a military organization whose mission is to help ease the grieving process of families and relatives of those who lost someone in our military.
For more information T.A.P.S. please visit http://www.taps.org/