I’ve been friends with Sara for years and we are pretty great at experiencing life together. I remember being in college just walking around the neighborhoods, attempting to surf on New Jersey waves, and talking for hours on her balcony. Sara was there for me when I miscarried. I remember one particular Sunday I was just bawling in church and Sara just held me and gave me a blanket to wipe my tears.
In April of 2016 Sara lost her son, Lucas Alexander, in utero at 34.5 weeks gestation. When your friends go through the unimaginable like this you try to do anything you can to help care for them. In that moment, it was babysitting her oldest son, Sammy, providing meals, listening, etc. I’m so glad that Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep was there to capture her first and last moments with Lucas. In case you don’t know about this non-profit they send photographers to hospitals to capture these very difficult birth experiences.
Since then, she has had another son…Caleb. I was honored to be able to grab some family photos of them at their house.
After this set of photos, Sara asked if she could grab a full family photo. When I saw what she brought out it took everything in me to not burst into tears. These are her words…
“When Lucas died, one of the hardest things we had to do was pick out a tiny casket for him. I’ll never forget going to the funeral home that day, and choosing the tiny white box that we would bury him in. They actually only had one small enough for an infant, and it came with this tiny bear that they offered to bury him with. In that moment of grief, I hated that stupid bear and what it represented. I had already chosen a blanket and Lovey from his nursery to wrap him in, and wanted nothing to do with that tacky reminder of that horrible day.
The funeral director gently offered to put it in a bag for us to take home, and suggested an older sibling might like to have it. I had every intention of chucking that stupid bear as soon as we got home, but in the chaos and grief of the following days, I completely forgot about it.
To be honest, I have no idea how it ended up in little Samuel’s hands in the weeks that followed, but it quickly became his favorite stuffed animal, and he began to sleep with it every night. I told him that his bear was a gift from his brother Lucas who was in heaven, and what was once a bitter memory of a horrible day, became a sweet reminder of our little boy and what a precious part of our family he is. I’m so glad that Sammy’s “Lucas Bear” made its way into our home after all.
Having Caleb has filled my arms and my heart in a way that has been so healing since we lost Lucas. But when my friend Anna offered to take some family pictures for us, I knew I wanted a photo with all three of my boys.
So here we are, the closest I could get to having a photo of the five of us. If you look closely, you might see the thick blanket of Grace that is wrapped tightly around us, holding this little family together. And if you look really close, you might even see the veil between Heaven and earth, and how thin it is in moments like this.”