One of the many, many reasons that I love my job is that I get to meet so many wonderful people through it. Of course, we usually have a few things in common – family is important, our children are treasured, and we LOVE quality photography as art. Every once in a while I also really click with someone and they go beyond “client” to friend.
Elissa is like that. We were strangers when we met years ago, when she first hired me to photograph her children, but as she returned again and again as they grew (and through the power of the internet and Facebook!) I got to know her better. I knew she was a very special woman and a fabulous wife and mother, but last year I got to know her even better.
She went in for her very first routine, screening mammogram…and got the call that every woman dreads. Thankfully, it was detected early and she was able to avoid chemotherapy and be treated with 33 days of radiation therapy; still a scary & daunting challenge. But, in typical Elissa fashion, not only did she face her treatments with dignity and grace – she used them as a reason to celebrate the beauty of everyday life. She made a plan to wear a DRESS to each treatment. Why, after all, do we “save” our nice things for SOMEDAY? So, she rummaged through her closet (and some vintage and thrift shops, and some friends closets, and did a little shopping) for 33 dresses and wore one to every. single. treatment.
She had so much support from her friends and family that she started a 33 dresses blog to have a place where they could all follow her journey. Lots of people joined her and wore 33 dresses themselves, right along with her. Others joined in other ways, like using the good china for a weeknight meal or fun jewelry. And she wrote about her treatments and life in such a profoundly personal way, sharing her own fears and triumphs with such clarity and openness, that you couldn’t help but feel that you had known her forever. Click on the link and drop by to read a little of it, and I know that you will feel that way about her too!
And, of course, family photos remain at the top of her priority list. We met at Cecil Park this fall for a quick min-session for some updated family pics, and of course it was unseasonably cold for the clothing she had selected earlier. Didn’t matter at all – they snuggled under a blanket for this fun image. As she taught me, it’s ALL special.