Something really special happened this week. I went to my friend, Teddy’s house to take pictures of him with my dog, Marley, who has been living with him since Mark died. Teddy has given Marley a really beautiful life these past 21 months…much better than I could have ever given him after Mark passed. I think it is really meaningful for Teddy to have Marley living with him too because I believe Marley helps him to feel closer to Mark and I am certain he brings him immeasurable and unconditional love.
Teddy lost his father the year before Mark died and to help him through that difficult time, Mark would often visit Teddy at his home in River Hills after our kids went to sleep sometimes a few nights per week. Marley would often tag along with Mark on these visits so he could run in the yard while the boys would hang out. Additionally, Teddy was always Marley’s favorite “Pet Sitter” when our family went out of town and couldn’t bring our beloved dog with us.
After Mark died, Teddy immediately offered to take Marley for awhile so that I could spend my time and energy focusing on the kids. Awhile soon turned into forever when I saw how close they had become. I knew how much Marley loved running on Teddy’s property, eating ice cream cones, going swimming at doggy swimming pools and playing and snuggling with Teddy, basically getting the royal treatment from his new best friend. Essentially, Marley never wanted to leave Teddy’s side and as much as we missed him, I knew Teddy was giving him a much better life than I could.
When Teddy decided he was going to sell his home, I was sad because his home is a place that had become pretty special to our family and our dog. 🙂 We had one of our favorite family photo shoots at Teddy’s property before Mark died, which resulted it one of my most treasured family portraits.
Additionally it has been the location for many of my photo shoots over the years and my mini-sessions last year, which allowed me to grow my business like never before. But I knew that this was the right move for Teddy….so while bittersweet, I was so happy for him when he told me that his home had sold and he was closing that Friday.
So last week, I went out to Teddy’s property to shoot some photos of him and the kids with Marley. When I arrived, Teddy explained that the buyers were actually people that I knew, Beth and Dan Handle. He also explained that Beth’s dad, Dave, would be living in the barn. My connection to Beth was originally through her brother Chris, a dear friend of mine who I met through college friends shortly after we graduated. I remember when Chris first introduced me to his sister Beth, probably over 15 years ago when we were all hanging out at Locust Street Days. I thought then and still do, that she is one of the sweetest and kindest people I have ever met. My connection to their family didn’t stop there, however. I also had the pleasure of growing to know and love their beloved mom, Lois, when she and I worked together at Stormonth School. Lois was truly a remarkable woman, mother, grandmother and friend to many. When she lost her 12 year battle against breast cancer in 2010, I felt so blessed to simply have known Lois in her too short time on this earth. I will never forget her gentle spirit, her beautiful heart and the way in which she smiled lovingly when she spoke of her family.
You can imagine my surprise when I learned that the buyers of Teddy’s beautiful property that I had grown so fond of were people that I know. But I also had this tremendous feeling of peace and knowing…I don’t know how to explain this feeling other than to say that it happens to me often since Mark’s passing. I felt as though I was having a full circle moment that completely enveloped me and helped me to just know that this entire experience was meant to be in a very significant way. Suddenly, this powerfully splendid feeling came over my body as I looked down at my camera bag in awe of the black, white and turquoise scarf tied around the strap. You see, this scarf had belonged to Chris and Beth’s beautiful mother. They gave it to me after Mark died with a very touching letter about why they wanted me to have it. Ever since this scarf found its home on my camera bag, it has been with me on each and every photo shoot and through most of my meaningful family moments too. When I see it resting gracefully on the side of my bag, it is a reminder to live life like Lois, a beautiful, strong woman and mother whose world revolved around her family. It too, brings me immense strength and peace, knowing that there are many special people watching over us always.