Nine years ago I held my son, Bennett Ian, for the first and only time. I didn’t know then the impact those moments would forever have on my life. I felt like any loss parent did, shattered, broken and confused about how I was supposed to continue on after this. I didn’t know how I would get out of bed in the morning, or what I would fill my time with because I had spent all of those months planning to be a mom; a stay at home mom who took her son to playgroups and music classes and showed him the wonders of the world. I found myself scouring the internet trying to find people who understood what I was going through and longing for a way I could honor him.. After 2 weeks after I got home from the hospital, I found Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. I sat there and stared in awe of all of the parents who were brave enough to take pictures with their babies. Of their support people who had encouraged them to capture these priceless moments and how much I would have given to go back and do that too.
I flipped through the application and didn’t feel like I was good enough to apply or established enough as a photographer so I pushed the thoughts into the back of my mind and closed that door for years. It wasn’t until last Spring that I connected with a local loss mom who started talking to me about Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep and asking if I wanted to get involved. I said the same things I told myself back then, “Oh thank you! But I don’t think I’m ready for that! I’m not sure I’m skilled enough as a photographer yet”. And that’s where I thought the conversation would end, but little did I know it was just the beginning.
I learned about all of the roles I could do as a Community Volunteer and jumped in head first. Dispatching, coordinating events, recruiting new volunteers and eventually stepping in as, Seattle Area Coordinator.
Seattle NILMDTS Volunteer Team
And the most important one to me, Assistant to Photographer, because it is allowing me to learn from the amazing volunteers in my area and equipping me with the confidence and courage needed to apply as a volunteer photographer. Helping to provide bereaved families in my local area with the gift I didn’t have the strength to receive allows me to bring honor to my son daily.
For me, having a living son now, it has become even more important for me to do something in honor and memory of Bennett. I found a way I can fill my days helping families remember their babies and cherish the time they have, something that I didn’t. I still feel sadness and have a hole in my heart, but I am so thankful for the families that I get to help each day in honor of my sweet Benett. I didn’t realize then how truly blessed I was to be his mom and the gift that he would give me to help others.