Heartfelt – 2

She walked into our room quietly.  “I’m Fiona from Heartfelt

A quick hello and gentle introductions.  There was a humming of whispers that slowly grew to warm chatter and occasional laughs.

We talked about what I wanted. We talked about Tara. We talked about Avery.

Tara was nervous. She kept saying she was scared of people looking at her.  Of having photos taken.  She just wanted to pain.  We let her go and do her own thing.

Fiona started to get her equipment ready.  Checking light, checking lenses, preparing.  Then she did something wonderful.  She asked Tara to help.  Tara got to touch Fiona’s omg-it-is-very-expensive camera and help get it ready.  Tara was interested.  And Fiona was no longer scary.  And I was able to relax that little bit more. Tara and I had cuddles.  We laughed.  Fiona caught it.

Soon Avery was with us.  As well as the rest of the family.  And we started to love on him.  Sponge bath, re-dressing, cuddles and hugs.  There were moments of joy, and sorrow.  Shared moments of grief.  Family saying hello and goodbye all at once.  All the while Fiona silently moved around us, capturing the moments.

Silent were her tears, but I noticed them.  And I knew then that she was more than just any photographer.  She was sharing more than just a photography session, Fiona was part of our story.  Fiona had become part of our extended family.

And this was cemented so firmly when, at sometime-after-midnight a couple of days before Avery’s funeral, some photos were sent through.  Not only had Fiona captured the grief and the anguish we were all feeling in that room – but our family dynamics, our love, our joy and Tara’s innocence.  It was like Fiona had been witness to our family for so much longer 2 hours.

Heartfelt photographers are a special lot.  They are prepared to walk into a family’s darkest moment.  To witness the lowest points of someone’s life, and photograph them.  They have to deal with death, and babies, and tears. All at once. And not become completely overwhelmed.  But they can’t be shut off from the emotions either – they need to be quiet and gentle and respectful.  Grieve with the parents.  Grieve for themselves (as many have had their own personal losses that bring them to Heartfelt in the first place).  The photographers are not just taking photos. They are creating life long memories – and there is never the chance for a rain-check or a second shoot.  They have to get it right the first time.

Fiona did.


It turns out Fiona and I have a number of friends in common.  We are linked by bloggers and connections around the internet.  Both real and online friends.   Of all the photographers to walk through the door that night, it was someone who I was linked to in less than six degrees.  We share far more than just Heartfelt.  Avery wove some more magic, and brought me Fiona.  She was meant to walk through that door that night.

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Monday 8 August 2011 - 1:39 pm

Kristie, I am floods of tears.

Thank you. Thank you.

You noticed and articulated the littlest things that make the biggest difference. I could never have done that.

I’ve tried to explain to other photographers considering Heartfelt that the hardest part is being able to grieve and empathise without making it about ourselves. But until your post, I wasn’t sure that I knew how to do that myself.

I absolutely hate that you needed to call Heartfelt. I think about your journey with Avery and I just crumple with overwhelming sadness at the unfairness and tragedy that your little family has suffered. And because of that, it’s very hard for me to say that I’m glad that we met.

But I am very grateful to Avery for bringing us together.

Fe xoxox

Monday 8 August 2011 - 4:02 pm

I’m glad it was Fe.
She is so beautiful and loving. I’m glad it was her who captured this time.

Monday 8 August 2011 - 9:57 pm

I’m glad it was Fe too xoxo

Wednesday 10 August 2011 - 2:19 pm

Kristie your strength and courage shine through your blogs, as does your heartbreak and pain. I’m in awe of the person and mother you are… Avery would be so proud to call you his mother and I only hope I can be half the mother you are… Stay strong and thankyou for sharing your loss and experience xxoo

Sunday 14 August 2011 - 8:56 pm

Kristie, I hate that either you or Tiff needed to call on Fiona. BUt you’re right. She has done a magnificent job. An amazing woman, and organisation.

Thursday 1 September 2011 - 5:37 pm

[...] mentioned Avery magic before.  Here and here and here… and probably a few other places [...]

Thursday 8 September 2011 - 8:39 pm

[...] I have spoken about Fe before. [...]

Thursday 14 June 2012 - 2:02 am

[...] of having a Heartfelt photographer turn up in her most devastating moment. That can be found here “Hi Gavin. I just wanted to take a moment in the stillness of “The After” to write to [...]

Thursday 14 June 2012 - 5:45 am

[...] of having a Heartfelt photographer turn up in her most devastating moment. That can be found here “Hi Gavin. I just wanted to take a moment in the stillness of “The After” to write to [...]

Friday 15 June 2012 - 5:53 am

[...] of having a Heartfelt photographer turn up in her most devastating moment. That can be found here “Hi Gavin. I just wanted to take a moment in the stillness of “The After” to write to [...]

Friday 15 June 2012 - 9:17 am

Kristie, you write with extraordinary clarity & sensitivity. I too am flooded with tears as I read about your treasured children, Tara & Avery.
I will think of you and your family on & off for the rest of my life. I won’t only recall your story with sorrow but also with a smile on my face as your words speak with such immense love & extreme courage.
Thank you,

Saturday 16 June 2012 - 8:09 am

Hi Kirstie,
I think you are so brave to share this story online. I am so sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine the pain your family is in. I wish you all the best in your future and will tell everyone I know about Heartfelt. I have already looked up the website to see if there are Irish photographers. Thank you for sharing this story. It makes me more thankful for what I have.

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