I will scream this until I am blue in the face: TAKE MORE PICTURES OF (and with!) YOUR GRANDPARENTS.
Photographing weddings and being in the business of watching two families come together to unite as one, I've come to notice how special the relationship is between a grandparent and their grandchild. Grandparents always play a special role in a wedding day. You can feel the joy and love swelling in the room, how proud they are of that little baby that they once held in their arms once upon a time. I know this because mine once spent an entire summer bragging about how I got a 4.0 GPA once, and the smile on my grandma's face every time she said it could have lit up the world. That's the smile that lives on your grandparent's faces during your wedding day.
March was my grandma's birthday month. This time of year always weighs heavy on my heart without her. She was one of the reasons why I decided to pursue photography as a career. While I was in high school, my family watched her slowly slip away from us. My mom and I got the brunt of it because we lived with her. It started out small... forgetting what she came into a room for, or what we needed from the store. Then she began cycling through names, calling me her own kid's names and even the dog's before she remembered I was her granddaughter. My heart broke as it happened more and more frequently as I got older. Dementia took her from us slowly over time, and suddenly I found myself needing a way to cope with loss before it even happened. Photography has allowed me to do that and more.
The photos are all that I have now that she is gone. They're my comfort in times like these when I am sad and miss her. Sifting through the pictures I have collected of her over the years is all I can do now. I have some of her making stink-face at the camera or laughing unaware that someone was taking her photo. The selfie I have of us with her sticking her tongue out, taken on the last day I saw her, always stands out as a moment where I was overwhelmed with joy to just being there with her. One day, my memories of summers at the pool with her or helping her bake chocolate chip cookies will fade away, but those photos I have of her will stand the test of time.
Photography is more than just capturing a beaming, happy face. It's all about the memories attached to the images and the emotion they can evoke from you just by looking at it. Every day I am thankful for this gift I have been entrusted with, and how I can use it to better serve the people around me. I owe a chunk of this business I am building to my grandma, always and forever. I don't know where I would be if it weren't for her and the love she taught me to give.