I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I took a call at Children’s today for a baby who was dying. I also don’t think it was a coincidence that we ended up in the roof-top garden either. On the same day, in the same garden, one year after the moment I met Seamus. The day he saw the sky for the first time.
As I was up there photographing, for the first time since the day Seamus passed, I cried. And as I cried I remembered every single detail of the two days I spent in the garden with Seamus. And I laid my hand on the mom’s shoulder today and told her that there was a little boy up in heaven with her daughter today. And his name is Seamus.
Whenever I talk about my time during those two days in the NICU I talk about Seamus. Because it was Seamus that brought me there. He was who I was racing to get to as I dropped my kids at my moms and rearranged scheduled photo sessions. It was for him that I went.
But with the first click of my shutter I knew I was there for another reason. I wasn’t there for Seamus. He was just the one who called.
I was there for Sharon and Tom.
I was there to capture the love they have for their son. To capture images of now memories that would become foggy from grief and no sleep. To capture joyful moments and incredibly sad moments. To capture last moments.
And while I was there I wasn’t thinking of myself or my kids or the nurses or doctors or even Seamus. All I was thinking about was Tom and Sharon.
Because I couldn’t imagine being put in their position. To not only have to say goodbye to their son, their baby, but to say when. And how.
And after a year of other stories like theirs, I always come back to them. Because HOW they said goodbye was beautiful. And joyful. Seamus heard laughter amongst the tears those two days.
(it was super sunny that day so I had nurses and doctors holding blankets to shade them!)
If you ask Tom and Sharon, they will say to tell Seamus’ story but to not make it about them, that it’s not about them. But what they don’t realize is that MY side of Seamus’ story IS about them. My story IS them. Because they were who I was watching those two days. They are who I was photographing. They are who became our friends this year, our good friends. They are who taught me about love. Who taught me about parenting. Who taught me about protection and selflessness and grief. About laughter and friendship and inner circles and sisterhoods.
Two big things happened in the last year. Kim and I created Fresh Art and I met the Johnstons.
And on the first day I met the Johnston’s it was mostly joyful. Seamus got to see the sun! He was outside! His entire family was with him! It was incredible. But the second day we walked up to the garden. The second day.
It was just a different day.
That was the day they had to say goodbye.
To their son.
And it is a day that will be etched in my memory for the rest of my life.
Because not many people witness parents losing their child. But I did. I watched them sing to him and read to him and hug him and hold him and smile at him and kiss him goodbye. And I captured all of it for them.
And I bet you’re wondering why I am so hell bent on sharing their very private story. On a blog. For the world to see.
But the answer is simple.
I don’t want you to forget.
Because I never will.
And now the world won’t either. You won’t. When your kids are driving you crazy his name will pop in your head and you’ll calm down. When you feel like you’re having a bad day you’ll remember Tom and Sharon and feel grateful a flat tire is your worst day. You will remember. I promise.
Because these people remembered…
My child and I, by
An invisible cord
Not seen by the eye.It’s not like the cord
That connects us ’til birth
This cord can’t been seen
By any on Earth.
This cord does it’s work
Right from the start.
It binds us together
Attached to my heart.
I know that it’s there
Though no one can see
The invisible cord
From my child to me.
The strength of this cord
Is hard to describe.
It can’t be destroyed
It can’t be denied.
It’s stronger than any cord
Man could create
It withstands the test
Can hold any weight.
And though you are gone,
Though you’re not here with me,
The cord is still there
But no one can see.
It pulls at my heart
I am bruised…I am sore,
But this cord is my lifeline
As never before.
I am thankful that God
Connects us this way
A mother and child
Death can’t take it away!
God puts people into our lives to love us back into wholeness. Thank you Jodi for all your love.
God puts people into our lives to love us back into wholeness. Thank you Jodi for all your love this past year.
What a beautiful tribute. Thanks for collecting these, Jodie. Prayers are with you all and the families in the NICU today.
Sharon and Tom, Seamus is so beautiful and precious. I will never forget Seamus either. I will be thinking about you all today and pray for peace and comfort to fill you up. Thank you for sharing his story and pictures with us. I have so much love for you all.
Sharon and Tom….Seamus will be in all of our hearts forever. This is the most beautiful tribute, it moved me to tears. I should say weeping tears. Our thought are with you.
This had me weeping before 7:00 this morning……what a beautuful story and family. Jodi you are such a wonderful gift to this family and all the families you work with.
Such a beautiful story. Jodie, you and Kim are such a blessing to SO many!
God bless Seamus & his Mommy & Daddy! I’ll be thinking of you all as you spend your day at the NICU & garden. Wish I could have been there to help out.
You have inspired me. I’m sending you an email. Thank you for doing what you do and helping us to realize the real meaning of life!
Sharon and Tom, our prayers and thoughts are with you today (and everyday) as you continue to celebrate Seamus’ life.
and who says reading blogs doesn’t do a little good…. with a new baby in the house, a toddler and a husband who’s gone 14 hrs a day… it’s tough being a ‘single parent’. I also remember this story from last year… so after a hiatus away from reading the blogs, I find this! I’m convinced that the Lord wanted me to remember that things aren’t EVER as bad as they seem at the moment… Thanks Jodie for sharing this story again.
Absolutely beautiful – but I love your work always. As a Mom of an angel – thank you for being there for these families. It is a blessing to be there for a birth – it is an honor to be there for a death. We shouldn’t question why these children are not with us but feel blessed they were given to us to know.
I will remember Seamus…
Remembering Seamus by reposting your blog entry on mine. You are an amazing person and Seamus will never be forgotten 🙂 Thank you!
Jodie, thank you for sharing this with us. I am forever grateful for the gift of perspective you have given me. http://maureenandkevin.blogspot.com/2010/04/perspective.html
Love to you, Kim, Sharon, Tom and Seamus.
These pictures will bring so much comfort to this family as they are on their journey in life. Seamus is an angel and will always be with them. Boy, when these things happen you open your eyes and see life like you have never seen it before. My daughter Parker is also and angel! God Bless you and your family!
My heart goes out to this family. I love the fact that you have done something so hard personally and made this so special for this family.
I have also been through the NICU trip, i was blessed with taking my babies home.
Such a powerful story. Yes, this puts all of our lives into perspective. During my recent miscarriage, I couldn’t help thinking how ‘easy’ it was compared to something like this (I found comfort in reminding myself of that). Tom, Sharon and Seamus will be in my heart and my prayers for a very, very long time.