Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Captured by Cam

A few weeks ago, we met up with the wonderful Cami Mitelman to do family pictures.  We hadn't seen her since she took pictures of our first family time with Samuel just five days before he died.  (Some of our favorites are in the left-hand column of this blog.)  Our dear friends Tracy Elliott and Jennifer Conley arranged for Cami to come to the hospital through Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, and though I was really hesitant about it at the time (did I want someone else there during our first -- and probably only! -- time as a family?  did I want to remember Samuel that way -- swollen and sick and not at all looking like the baby he was at birth?  did I want to spend any part of my swiftly diminishing days with Samuel thinking about pictures?  did I have the emotional energy to do it?  did it mean I was giving up hope that Samuel would live?), I was glad we did it as soon as we were at Samuel's side as a family.  And now I am SO glad we did it.  We have a record of our time as the five of us, and it is priceless to me.  I know Caleb and Joel cherish those pictures because they can see themselves with their baby brother -- loving him and touching him, and they can see our smiles and joy in being a family.  Samuel's life wasn't all tears and heartache.  We have proof that it was also joyful and rich and real.  Right next to Caleb's bed, he has a picture of him whispering "I love you" into Samuel's ear.  I can always tell when Caleb's been thinking about Samuel because he moves the picture closer to his pillow when he's especially missing his baby brother.  Those pictures are life-giving and healing for us.  They bless us in tremendous ways.

After Samuel died, Cami offered to take our family pictures again someday, and right then I knew I wanted to do it when we had another baby.  So once we found out about Anna, I asked Cami if she'd still be willing to photograph us.  It was great to see her again.  She's among the few non-hospital staff who ever saw Samuel, and she was witness to a very sacred day of our lives.  I loved seeing her, talking to her (something I didn't do much of that day at Egleston because I was so preoccupied), and just having her be with our family again.  It was a sweet time.  And now we have some great pictures of our new family -- and one of all of us with a picture of sweet Samuel.  What another wonderful blessing from Cami!  Here are some of my favorites:

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