26 March, 2010

reaching out.

this evening I.felt.so.alone.
I felt forgotten and forsaken.

but not by God.
never ever by Him.

My Richie took me in his arms.

and he said all the wrong things.

all the man things.
the fix you up things.

I arched my back at his attempts to "fix" my broken life,
then we both laughed out loud at our conventional marriage.
. . .

oh Richie,
you are my happiest thought.

I don't mind that we're conventional.
In fact, I'm quite certain it's my very favorite thing about us.

. . .

I spent a considerable amount of time lying
face down on the couch.

just so you know.

I'm really not sure what the kids were doing.
probably trying to kill each other on the trampoline?

it's likely.

I lay there, and I wished the day would wind it self to a close
and that I could just wake up, in clean sheets, and it'd be tomorrow.

fix the dinner.
put the kids to bed.
fold the laundry.
do the dishes.
answer the emails.

. . .

my heart felt like it was going to EXPLODE
with complete and utter overwhelm.


then, without a word, I got the keys.
kissed the man child.
kissed the crazies.

and I drove.
a block.
to the church parking lot.

I pulled into a stall.

and. . .
and I opened my email. . .???
of alllllllll the things in allllllllll the universe to do,
THIS is what popped into my brain.

and I read.


cried and cried and cried.

and cried.

and suddenly, I no longer felt all alone.

Bill (from Heaven knows where),

thank you.
thank you, for being willing to be "foolish" (bill's word, not mine).
your words spoke directly to tonight's broken soul.

and because of your example,
I will forever reach out better, more often, more completely.




I somehow stumbled onto your blog searching for photo stuff (I am an amateur photographer) and felt compelled to drop you a note. I read that you lost your young baby, I am so sorry you and your family have to go through this.

Please allow me to ramble for a moment. I was orphaned as a boy and it affected me deeply. Fast forward into adulthood and my wife lost our first baby. Then we had a healthy one and then had our youngest who was very sick and on a ventilator for years and tube fed and horribly sick and frail with many neurological issues, just last night I was going through old photos and I came across some pictures of our youngest that a local lady photographer did for us, and I remembered the first time I saw those pictures. Our little girl was so sick and I remember looking at her for the first time as just a pretty little baby. Somehow the photographer had captured her so perfectly and it truly changed the way I looked at her. No machines or nurses or medicines, just my baby. Maybe we were going to be a "normal" family someday.

So what does this have to do with you? I don't know other than you are a female photographer of considerable talent and you are obviously still coping with your incredible loss. But I am sure that somewhere a father or mother, son, daughter or maybe just a friend looked at one of your photos and smiled today. And maybe you helped someone look at a loved one in a little different, sweeter light. And that is an amazing gift!!!

My little one is almost ten now and off all of the machines. She's funny and smart and still has those same beautiful eyes that I first noticed in a picture. As I read your amazingly open and painful blog through tears I remembered the fear and pain and loneliness of my parents deaths and my wife's sense of loss after her miscarriage, and the anger and helplessness of my youngest illness. And then I think there is no such thing as a coincidence, I almost always had a sense of someone or something comforting me in my worst times. Sometimes a stranger would stop and chat with me, A friend may call unexpectedly. So as I get older and become more open to making a fool of myself, I can tell you that an unknown stranger is thinking of you and your loss and your gift of amazing portraits that you give to families touching them for years to come.



Kristyn Hogan said...

Thank you so much for your kind words on my blog. I've been reading your blog for a while and I guess I don't know what else to say except thank you for being honest and thank you for taking a moment to comment on my humble work.

God Bless You as you are a blessing to many.

Natalie. said...

um girl, what I saw was not humble! keep on keepin' on!

who's amber housley? she's the one who sent me the link to that shoot via twitter. I assumed it was her work.

Unknown said...

Love you. Love Bill, especially tonight...I too needed his words. Wow...I knew I stayed up SUPER late for a reason.

Natalie. said...

Kim, this is me tucking you in. go.to.bed. xx. N

Katie said...

Absolutely beautiful

Michelle said...

I was reading this post and tuning everything out as I tend to do when I am at the computer. When I got up from my chair and tuned back in, I realized that my girls were singing "You are my Sunshine" at the kitchen table while playing with sculpey. I don't think it was a coincidence...

Connie Sithi said...

what a beautiful post - it moved me to tears. I love looking and reading through your blog. It's funny, sweet, cute, happy and sad, serious... all the emotions we experience in life is reflected in your work and writing, and that's why it's one of my favorites. You keep it real. Thanks!

stef j. said...

love ya, nat.

shelly said...

I love you so much! THANK YOU for sharing that special man's email with us. It touched me, right into my soul.

Jennifer Parke Photography said...

I am so glad that when you needed comfort you were able to find it! It is wonderful that Bill was able to be so open!

I read your blog and I am glad that you can be so open and honest! I'm not going to lie what you have been through scares me to death but I am so glad that you have shared your experience with us and that you don't just keep everything bottled up inside as most people would.

I hope that you find comfort as you need it and that you become stronger and stronger each day -

We are thinking of you and your family and hoping that you have lots of love and support.

Truly Silkes said...

I had an online acquaintance named Bill who I only knew from a chat window in a news forum, that's 11 years ago. When he learnt that my father had died he took the time to call me (from the US, obscene overseas charges then) and console me. Will never forget his words and his views.
I second everything your Bill says. You have moved and inspired so many people, you still do.
Hugs to you,

Jennifer said...

What a deep, fantastic post. I love the way the Lord works, especially when we take the time to listen to Him (as Bill obviously did)! God bless you and God bless Bill too :)

Gry Offernes said...

I'm crying too - in a country far away. Thank you so much for sharing this!!

tvmom said...

powerful, thanks for sharing!

christine said...

First, I have to tell you I chuckled at "all the man things. the fix you up things." They can't help it, but they mean well. And the back-arching (also can't be helped) usually follows...!

Second, I'll just take a cue from Bill and let you know that I have followed your story ,too, over the past few months, and it has moved me deeply. I have felt your sorrow, and prayed for you, but you have also inspired me to love and live better. Thank you for sharing your story so openly.

Jen said...

Bill you are a wonderfully thoughtful man & Nat you have touched more lives than you will ever know, Thanks.

Rusty and Jacquie said...

beautiful post. Found you on a fellow Angel Mom's blog. I also, lost my son. My first baby. Born much too early...living for only 6 months. He returned home in November 2009. I scanned through all your posts. and thought I would tell you about him because I would not mind helping in your project for grief. email me or send me a comment to let me know how I can help!

PS your way of writting is truely unique and inspiring. I enjoy it.

Hil said...

What a beautiful email. Thank you both for touching my life today.

shelli said...

You beauty, faith and pain wrap around me like the biggest hug each and every day. Baby Gavin is a tiny preacher teaching us through you how to tolerate, be happy and find and see beauty in this world.

Betsy, short for Elizabeth, formally known as Esther said...

Oh, how simply beautiful. Thank you for sharing this with all of us.

natalie said...

I like Bill. Thanks for sharing.

Julie said...

As you know you are never alone. You and your family are still so frequently in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

what a lovely pick me up!

Amanda said...

perfect timing by Bill. I'm sure it was just what you needed and the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

I agree, photography is powerful, the ability to capture moments, emotions and memories, to freeze them in time is something I'm eternally grateful for. Anytime we create or us our talents, we are emulating our Heavenly Father. I have pictures of Alyson and I from Kim that make me smile every time I look at them. I have pictures of calli and I when she was a newborn that are only pulled out when my heart feels like it's crumbling and I miss the baby I placed for adoption. Which I did this week and sobbed my eyes out. Without those images, the emotions and memories would fad over time.
Thank you a million times over for developing your talents which in turn, enrich my life and all of your readers.



Unknown said...

"Coincedences are God's way of staying anonomous."
-Albert Einstein

Lisa S said...

and yet there are no coincidences...we have all touched someones life in one way or another because our loving Heavenly Father knew that we would make some kind of difference in that person's life. Thank you for your posts about your family. I am always emotionally moved.

Summer's World said...

I like Bill.

Colten and Melissa Rogers said...

Simply Amazing!

Rae said...

God bless Bill. Still praying for you; still hoping that you have increased peace every day.

Chung Nguyen said...

Wow, thank you, Bill. And Natalie, for sharing Bill's email. So touching.

Linda Patterson said...

Thank you for this post Natalie & Bill, It makes my heart warm.

Oh and Bill do you have a blog? I would love to follow it : )

lilia said...

The Lord's tender mercies are so real and personal for each of us. How amazing our lives are when each of us are who we are meant to be. Thank you Natalie and Bill for being that and blessing the lives of those around you (even those you don't know)

Brady and Rachel said...

Wow. simply. wow. Love you. xoxo

Jenny said...

Isnt it amazing how God sends us certain "strangers" to give us strength when we need it. After reading this post i started thinking of a movie i saw as a kid. I think it was called Saturdays Warrior. I just remember the two missionaries who were friends in heaven, and were later reunited as mission companions. Just had me thinkin thats all...."strangers" maybe not so much :) Thank you for your words Natalie and your out-look on life. Always sending prayers....

Kristin said...

As I locked myself up in my closet tonight.. crying... praying for direction... where did i land myself. you now know! who do i love more right now natalie? bill? gavin?... all of the above and on above you three :o) my youngest is my miracle. incurable disease. never was supposed to live past birth. then a few months. oh wait maybe a year.... keep guessing doctors... you've got it all wrong. She's alive and the first to enroll in kindergarten. but does it stop there? no i have a battle on my hands daily, when's our turn? when am i not so lucky anymore? i crash. i'm a mom... we crash. but do we give up?... NO! Never. it's not an option. thank you natalie. thank you bill. thank you gavin. thank you to our sweet Lord.

Sue said...

That was simply inspiring. Often we have no idea how our kindness and sharing affect others. This was a good reminder. Thanks to you both, Natalie and Bill.

Mike and Amie said...

Thank you. Both of you.

Susan said...

This helped me too. So, Thank you Bill from me, as well.

Melissa said...

Natalie...So glad to have found your blog. I'm so sorry for your loss, and so thankful for your honesty (and Bill's!)

Bonnie said...

Isn't it amazing how what we need most sometimes comes along from unexpected places? And thanks Bill and Natalie for having such open hearts and sharing your lives with us all.

Unknown said...

I can't believe I just stumbled upon this. you are on my favorites list and I was trying to go to another site and accidently clicked on yours. I was drawn to the title and first few sentences. WOW. how brave of you to be so open and honest. how strong of you to still look for good in such a changing and unforgiving world. but that's because you know the beauty of God's Grace. and you can see it and appreciate it when he puts people in your life to help you and show you the beauty in this crazy world. I feel I was meant to stumble upon this blog. and I feel blessed to have been let in to such a beautiful moment. thank you.

{lindy baker cakes} said...

Wow. What a beautifully written e-mail.

Rhitzclan said...

Hey Natalie, remember me? We met on the playground the other day and our boys were climbing- everything! I was playing around on this tonight and found Dori's blog. I commented there and saw your comment to her- you said everyone is afraid of you now and you need friends. Well, seeing as we are still newbies around here- we need all the friends we can get!! We're up for playing, ANYTIME! =) And what a strength you are to others... just so you know.

Damaris @Kitchen Corners said...

Thanks Bill and all the other people who reach out to strangers. You guys rock my world.

And thanks natalie for sharing such intimate parts of your soul. you also rock my world and inspire me to be a better person

Lindsey Ensley said...

precious. Praying for you and yours!

Brandi said...

That Bill...he must be a wise man.

devon said...


just wow...i needed to come here today..thank you..and thank you Bill...whoever you are..your words are honest and open..and needed..

Natalie..I dont know you...I found your blog and your story..on the very same day that your precious child went home..ever since..I have remembered to be more diligent about counting my blessings..and remembering to keep all of this life in perspective..and to have more joy in the journey..

thank you.


Anonymous said...


Just WOW! To both you and Bill. Thank you both for the awakening that I so much needed tonight.

Michelle said...

Thank You Bill for being willing to "make a fool of yourself"...and for rawly sharing your life's lessons. Children bring great joy and heartache, no matter how long we hold them. We must taste the bitter with the sweet, or how else would we know the sweet?

Thank You Natalie, for I take comfort in your faith, and your testimony that you will see Gavin again because of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Remember, we are Spiritual beings having human experiences, not Human beings having spiritual experiences.


Anonymous said...

WOW....just amazing. Just amazing. Once again.. thank you for sharing. This is incredible.

Berlynn said...


I must confess I have been secretly stalking your blog ever since Nainoa told me about you. I can't even express to you the inspiration, and pure awe I feel from you. I mean, I started a photography blog. LOL, I never really had an interest in blogging until you. I also must confess I was too ashamed to write you any positive feedback due to my own shame. And by that, I mean my work never feels quite strong enough. Always. Striving. To. Be. Better. But, I can certainly recognize my passion for photography. I love ART, I love people and to capture that passion is a reward almost too grand. I read your words, and I am just overwhelmed with your openness. I, myself, have been closed off for too long that going back into "sharing" and being open has been quite the challenge for me. I've just been so closed off emotionally from the world. I am reaching out though, I feel as though I am ready to walk a path I was too scared of before. And for this, I must give you a thousand thank you's. I can see the incredible positive influences you have on your readers. And without even saying, without a doubt, your work is magic. Thank you.

Sara McDaniel said...

That was so perfectly and beautifully said!

Keri Bryant said...

Beautfiully written, Nat and Bill. I am in tears. so very very amazing.
Don't you just marvel at the goodness and inspiration of strangers?
I heart blogs and being inspired by people I dont know: you, Bill and baby Gavin.
And yes, you AMAZING WORK (ART!) will touch people's lives forever.

mitch and amy said...

I am another stranger that happened upon your blog. Your posts are beautiful and uplifting. I attended the funeral of a friend of mine today that lost her battle with cancer (on Christmas Eve), but about a year ago she also lost her baby son. I thought about her reunion with her son, how joyous, how wonderful. I know that your reunion will be just as sweet. I know that God is kind and loving. As hard as it is to endure the pain, I believe that the joy and elation will be even more deep.

I wish you well on your journey and pray for you, and me, and all of the other moms out there. There is nothing more wonderful than mothering. PS. I will be vaccinated because of you and your story. It is worth it. I will help spread the word. And, thank you.