fromthebirdcage

When our photography met with Cancer and a courageous young mother and wife.

A couple of months ago, my emotions were spiraling out of control after having my miscarriage.  I was lost, scared, selfish, hopeless…

Then, on August 28th at 2:54 pm, I got a text from my friend Adrienne that said, “Can you give me a call sometime this afternoon?  I have a favor.”

By 3:39 pm, my personal anguish was over.  With one phone call, my miscarriage went from something that was destroying me to something that had happened in my past.

Cancer.  The destroyer of reason. The greatest element that keeps my struggle in believing in a higher power, a universal reason at the front of my mind.  I always want to believe that everything happens for a reason but when cancer walks in the room, it becomes more powerful than reason, more dominating than ‘meant to be’.

Adrienne’s good friend Nikki was diagnosed with terminal cancer at age 34, just hours before I got the text.  With two little children her last wish was to have her family photographed together, happy, healthy, beautiful in a way that her children would remember forever.

twobirds0046

There are so many photographers that Adrienne could have called, but she chose us. For that, I believe in a reason.  But Nikki’s purpose couldn’t have been to heal my heartbreak, yet cancer’s strength was determined to take this beautiful woman away from her family.

twobirds8939

We met with Nikki and her husband James right away and I was immediately flooded with love and emotion for this courageous woman.  She sat up in her hospital bed talking about her wishes for these photographs and telling us about her prognosis with confidence and strength.  My heart listened as she continued to give instructions on how to care for the girls to James, teaching him how things would need to be done when he was on his own.  Lessons he may not have needed, but what mattered was that Nikki needed to give them.  Could I have been as strong?  I hope to never have to know.

twobirds8932

On the day of the shoot it was going to be impossible to have Nikki leave the hospital but important for her that the photographs didn’t look like they were surrounded by illness.  We brought a curtain and purple balloons to soften the area and began to shoot this beautiful, special family as their extended family watched us in tears.

twobirds8896

No session has ever felt more important to me.  When is it the right moment to freeze time with the people we love?  Never yesterday.

twobirds8814

Yesterday, November 18th, Nicola passed away.  Her battle was difficult and short. Her family was strong and solid.  Our hearts are broken, yet comforted knowing her pain is over.  I will always have this message from Nikki: “Please text this message onto Bonnie and let her know that they made one of my most important wishes come true, thank you truly.”

twobirds8751

Rest in Peace beautiful Nikki.  Thank you for allowing us to enter your world and to know you for such a short time.

twobirds8796

twobirds8597

twobirds0174 twobirds0169

twobirds9083To James, we know that Nikki left you with every ounce of love in her heart and the confidence that you will love and care for the family you grew together.

I wish I could have known them before Nikki’s cancer because the light inside them even through this difficult time was bright, but I will be forever changed and endlessly grateful to have been touched by their love and courage.

You can follow Bonnie and Gabe Two Creative Birds on Facebook, visit our portrait website at www.TwoCreativeBirds.com or our fine art site at www.bonniealrifai.com. 

13 comments

  1. Reblogged this on snap happy and commented:
    Lost a dear old friend this week. This blog post has been shared around on facebook, and it gave me great joy to see how Nikki’s courage and cheer shine out of the pictures, and inspired and changed the photographer. Rest in Peace Nikki xx

  2. Louise Maidment

    Nikki was in my sister’s class at school. Heartbreaking news and your beautiful photos and words are so moving. God bless Nikki and her beautiful family.

  3. philippa mcfeat

    Bonnie, these photos are wonderful, I am a dear friend of Nikkis from the UK, we go back 25 years and I visited her in October, she was so thrilled with these photos they were just what she wanted so on her behalf thank you, your words are so moving and just perfect. I am heart broken bythe loss of my friend but its lovely to look at these and pretty much see her as she was.
    I dont know if she shared with you but Nikki miscarried her first baby, she was so devastated but then went on to have two little beauties as you saw, so take strength from Nikki that it will happen for you and when it does it will just be the best ever.

    P

  4. Cindy LeGros

    Beautiful photos, a heartbreaking story, and a wonderful gift for her daughters. They will grow up knowing that they were deeply loved by their mummy.

  5. Tami Garcia

    Thank you for creating this blog and sharing these priceless, beautiful photographs of a very special young woman, and her loving family. Nikki has left such a wonderful gift for her family, most especially for her daughters, to cherish through these photographs. Nikki’s courage, strength, and grace in facing such a devastating event serve to remind us all that each day is a blessing not to taken for granted. God bless you, Nikki, as you rest in enternal glory and peace.

  6. pamela smith

    To our beautiful niece courageous beyond belief you were always a vibrant stunning child and grew into an amazing woman God bless x x x x

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: