The month of May is known for a few things. For starters, there’s the old adage “April showers bring May flowers.” Reminding us that May is a time for renewal and growth. Of course, May is also known for Mother’s Day. For some of us, both of these bring happy thoughts. But for many others, Mother’s Day is a reminder of grief or loss. Cle Elum is a small community, where most business owners know one another on some level. Which is how I learned that Amanda Heins, a small business owner of the Roslyn Grocery, lost her husband in February.
Within a short time of her husband’s passing, Mother’s day was upon us. It seemed to be the perfect time to celebrate Amanda. As a Photographer in Cle Elum there was only one answer. I reached out to offer a photography session with her daughters and mother-in-law, and they accepted! We planned the session for Mother’s day. I brought a picnic, some games, bubbles, etc. Things that would make it special for the girls. Plus, a bouquet of handmade cookies donated by Confection Concoctions for both Amanda and her mother-in-law, Anne.
After her session, I sat down with Amanda to talk to her about what the photography experience was like. As someone who lost both of her parents at a very young age, I identified so much with what photographs and the experience meant to her.
In Amanda’s own words…
“My grandmother had a love wall in her home and she always had pictures of her 24 grandkids and 7 children. My mom did too. We always had lots of pictures on the walls and family portraits. However, my husband Matt did not like the camera. He was very camera shy. We could never get him to do a family photo. Then when he passed away we realized how few pictures we had of all of us together.“
I asked her if, after his passing, she felt like it was more important to have family photos.
“My kids are 8 and 6 now. You don’t really realize how fast it’s going by. I hadn’t had them professionally photographed in some time. It just goes so quickly. If you blink, you miss this entire stage of adolescence.”
Amanda had asked me to include her husband’s mother in the session. I thought that was a beautiful gesture and of course wanted her to be involved.
“My mother in law had one child. This was her first mother’s day without her son. That was her identity. Her life. Being a mother was a big part of her life. We are both very lucky to have live in a community that is so supportive and so amazing. But we are both going through the process of what is essentially redefining ourselves. Finding who we are without his presence. So it’s important to have her as part of the pictures. They’re his legacy and her connection to her son.”