Every now and again someone I know does something worthy of me singing their praises on my blog. Today I thought I'd mention something I think is priceless (so I guess it's good that it's free financially as well).
I met a woman by the name of Rachel and her best friend Denise a couple years ago when I had the honour and privilege of helping a family work through one of the hardest things possible...the death of their child. Rachel knew the parents personally, so when they called and asked her to help she obliged. The situation I'm talking about involved a 3 year old so it was not the 'norm' for Rachel and Denise but she still stepped up to the plate.
Rachel is an area coordinator and photographer and Denise is a photographer for a non-profit organization called Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep (NILMDTS). NILMDTS is a group of volunteer trade/experienced photographers who donate their time and equipment to take remembrance photos for families suffering the death of a baby and provide heirloom pictures of the child.
Many times walking away for the final time proves to be the hardest part for a bereaved parent. They are trying to prolong the inevitable and fear they'll forget the uniqueness of the little toes or the peaceful look on that tiny face. They are trying with all of their power to burn the appearance of their son or daughter into their brain to sustain them until they themselves die. NILMDTS takes that fear away from a parent and allows them to just sit and enjoy those precious moments with their child.
People tell me all the time, it takes someone special to do my job and I suppose in a way they are correct but I truly believe it takes someone special, like Rachel and Denise, to provide this priceless gift to a parent who has had their world shattered and their dreams crushed. The pictures are tastefully done and capture the essence of the little babies. So while it's not the same as holding their child or having the baby as part of their day to day chaos, they will forever have pictures of the child who cannot sit at the dinner table with them or the child they won't walk to school on the first day. They will at least have these photos. And that's something to show the world that this baby existed and is real to someone.
So I'm proud to say I know these two ladies even if fleetingly. I'm grateful to know they exist out there and that I can recommend them to any grieving parent of a newborn without hesitation. NILMDTS is a respected organization and should be commended for the gifts they are giving people. The services are free and each family is provided with a CD of all the photos taken at no charge. The parents can then select their favourites and print the photos themselves, or have them enlarged and framed at their own convenience with no pressure. And since NILMDTS is a not for profit organization they can always use more volunteers. So if you are a photographer and think you might like to make a person's life a little brighter at their darkest time reach out and contact Rachel or NILMDTS. This organization is holding strong in Canada and throughout the USA so even if you aren't in my area you can find a local branch through their website.
This is a link to an article that ran in a local newspaper in our area this week.
It's not easy to work through the loss of a child no matter what age, so anything out there that can help ease that suffering is a blessing in my eyes. I wish more bereaved parents were aware of this organization and I wish more medical professionals saw the value in it enough to pass the information along to a grieving family.
Thank you Rachel, Denise and all the other countless volunteers who work diligently with grace and respect to assist these families at their darkest times. You truly are angels.