Thursday, July 12, 2012

For Kristi

In recent months it feels as if I've focused solely on photography, communicating entirely in pictures, forgetting that there is indeed another medium in which I feel I can express myself more effectively than in speech.

I'm reflecting on the last 5 years of friendship, and the last 3.5 years when I have been so incredibly fortunate to have not only found an amazing friend, but to have had her live relatively close for that period. And so I find myself saying bye as you head back up North, in the great hope that I'll see you one day soon, that life and our children's growing years won't shoot by so quickly til then. I am forever sentimental in life, yet perhaps it at least graces me with the gift of photography that I can perhaps in a sense use to contain and preserve that which I find so sentimental. 

The friend is Kristi Swann and her really rather special family.

I think we can all agree I'm one to attempt to grab every opportunity in life, and first learning of your departure over a year ago, I did indeed plan to spend more time with you, yet our lives are both so very complicated. I have a tremendous amount to learn from you, always have. You're one of the very special blessings to have come from the discovery of a child having a life changing, life threatening medical disability. To have known you (oh gosh, you're only going to be in the Bay Area and San Fran to LA really isn't that far, is it?), first witnessed you signing to Gracie and giving her absolutely everything in life, along with John, to have secured her not only the most steadfast medical and educational plan through tireless advocacy, but to have aimed for those heady heights of self actualization, fulfillment for Gracie. In the midst of this, you somehow manage to carve an extraordinarily well rounded little son named Preston who oozes inspiration. He will always hold a special place in my heart. He's the little boy, exactly a week younger than Reuben, who inspired me in that innocent elevator to have my longed for second baby and to experience that baby and all the natural experiences most families take for granted. You were cradling your newborn and we rode up and down a few times going nowhere on the journey, but everywhere in conversation. You offered hope and that is everything when one's son is in intensive care. You and John shortly after visited us in hospital when Reuben was in the midst of heart surgery, giving up a portion of your much longed for vacation to LA from the kids. 

Some things like that I just don't forget, nor indeed the blue rabbit you gifted to Reuben, and the only toy he still cuddles in bed to this day.

And then along came baby Gavin whom I met when I photographed you in full maternity bloom and when he was but a day old. To have spent the time just hugging him at Preston's 5th party was a dream.

I'd like to pretend that I enjoyed the kind of girly nights out that I would have loved with you, but hey, we're mums! But wait... we did. From night swimming at the Annenberg Beach House in Santa Monica, to walking the Red Carpet in Hollywood for a movie premiere. 

In life, we are indeed blessed if we can meet a friend who helps shape our lives in the most wonderful way, encourages us, gives without the promise of receipt and is one of life's beautiful people. And having touched so many is a testament to the wonderful woman you are Kristi Swann.

I would not feel sad if it weren't for that impact you have made on my life. If I'd driven down today to say goodbye it would have been a tear stinging return in the car and then CHP hubby John will have probably had me pulled over. I will instead look forward to wherever life will take us and our paths will cross some day, that promised trip up North.

I know I have always showered great admiration upon you and that is wholly deserved.

You deserve everything good in life. A loving husband, gorgeous children, family and friends who'll forever sing your praises. 

I love you. I'll miss you. God speed your journey.

Catherine x

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