{ godspeed little angel, sweet dreams }

My blog is typically a very happy little place, full of love and light. I see my clients on their best days, the happiest days.  We try to keep our own lives this way too, staying positive, finding beauty in the little things, savoring sweet little moments of happiness. But life is… well, it’s life.  It’s never perfect, and it’s always changing.  There is sadness and pain, loss and heartbreak.  Which makes these moments all the more beautiful, even though they can break our hearts, and bring us to our knees.

A few weeks ago, I was in Minnesota visiting my friends and family.  While there, I photographed a family session with our friends Dave and Tiffany, and their children, Max (2) and Ellie (9 months).  We were all so glad we were able to work the session into our busy schedules, and that we had such a beautiful day and happy kiddos.  You may have seen it on the blog last week.  I never, in a million years, thought I’d be following it up with this post, just a week later.

Early this week, Ellie came down with a high fever.  They brought her in, but the fever was too much for her, and an infection spread quickly.  On Tuesday morning, little Ellie left us on angel’s wings. Their lives turned upside down, Dave and Tiffany held their tiny daughter’s funeral yesterday morning.

Having been out of the country, we had no internet or phone access.  We found out as we were going through customs and security in Houston on our way home late Tuesday night.  We had a few jumbled voicemails from friends, but none of it made sense.  Just as we were passing the phone back and forth trying to decipher the messages, the phone rang.  It was Dave, with a tired, cracking voice.  He confirmed what we feared.  We both let our bags fall to the busy airport hallway floor, and stood still, looking at each other with quivering chins and glassy eyes. Grasping for words, we offered our condolences, asked Dave what we could do, if there was anything they needed.  Dave thanked us, his voice cracked again, and he asked if they could get a few images from their session for her casket, and for the service. I said of course, shook my head, and expressed again how glad I was that we made time for the session, especially now.  With a deep breath and a heavy sigh he said, that makes a lot of us.

k.holly ~ family lifestyle photographer

I don’t want to make this into a big “photography is so important” post, but I can’t help but feel the weight.  I already know that what I do is important, I was reminded of it last year when my friend Danielle lost her husband.  I had done a session with them and their two young girls, and the images that those girls have with their Daddy will be cherished forever.  Same here, Dave, Tiff and Max will have this collection of images with Ellie that they will treasure.  Something they can look back to when she’s on their minds, something to remind them of the wonderful, happy days they had with her.

As photographers, we need to remember the weight of what we do.  We’re not just trying to get the most awesome shot, or that hot new pose, or that sweet new lighting trick.  As lifestyle and wedding photographers, we are capturing real life.  Real people, real families, real love.  We are freezing these fleeting moments, and saving them to be cherished later, for years and generations to come.  We’re not just shooting for our blogs, or for facebook, or for that kickass new website template we have our eye on.  We are shooting for our clients. We are capturing this moment, this emotion, this family, as it is right now.

Dave, Tiffany and Max, you have been on my mind, and heavy in my heart this week.  I have hot tears rolling down my cheeks for you as I type this.  We regret that we couldn’t be there for the service, but know that we were with you in spirit.  We continue to pray for you and your families, that God will be with you in the days to come.

Ellie, godspeed little angel, and sweet dreams~


Your email is never published or shared.

  • Heather - How awful. Many hugs and prayers to you, and especially to them. These images will be cherished forever.

  • Andrea - I’m covered in chills, and have tears in my eyes… I’m so sorry for them….

  • Scarlett - Just tears streaming down my face. What a beautiful little girl. My heart breaks for this family and the loss of their precious baby. Thoughts and prayers will be with them……

  • kelly Braman - As a mother this is your worst fear! I will be praying for this sweet little family today and the weeks ahead! This pain must be indescribable and I can not imagine what they are feeling….so incredibly heartbreaking! What great memories you have preserved for them! We are not saving lives like doctors, but we are definitely able to help families remember and that is so special! So sad, Kristin…thank you for sharing so we can all have that reminder to cherish the time and document it well!

  • Paul Retherford - Wow, having an 8 month old girl ourselves really drove home this blog. So sad. Wonderful images Holly! They will surely treasure your beautiful captures forever.

  • Rachel - My heart breaks for their family and you. You said it so perfectly, and it is so wonderful that they have these precious images to hold on to.

  • Jenny - Its the fear of every parent when their child gets sick. Most of us are lucky enough that its a minor thing, and our children are better the next day. We never think it could happen to us. I cant imagine what the family is going through, Im bawling just thinking about it. My thoughts and prayers and with them and hope that they can make it through ok.

  • Mindy - It is heartbreaking to read this. You took such beautiful photos for them, what a gift, especially now…. 🙁

  • AmandaD - I’m so sorry to hear about little Ellie. It’s so wonderful that you were able to capture an angel & that beauty is what everybody will always remember about her.

  • Jamie - Dave and Tiff – so sorry we couldn’t be there yesterday. We heard it was beautiful and we know Ellie will be missed.

  • Deb - I am so sorry to read about this tremendous loss of a precious little one. Beautiful post and photos Kristen and a reminder of how precious and fleeting life is. Thoughts and prayers…

  • Joanne - tears rolled down my face as I read this and looked at the pictures. What a beautiful little girl. Their family is in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Sarag - When I saw these photos when you first posted them…I just loved them. What gorgeous kids…what a beautiful family. I can not even begin to imagine what it is like to lose a child. My heart is so sad for this family. They are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Kristin - this is heartbreaking–but at the same time, what a beautiful and thoughtful post, kristen. this family will be in dan and my prayers….I can’t imagine what they must be going through right now…

  • Ellie's Mommy - Kristen- thank you for this little memorial of our beautiful angel. We miss her so much and these pictures have been a great comfort

  • Nicole - My heart hurts for this family. They are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Bernadette U - Oh, my heart is with this family and their beautiful little girl. I am so sorry for their loss, and am sending thoughts and prayers their way. Beautiful images, Kristen, and truly touching to read your view on photographs, I am sure these images you have captured will be treasured always.

  • Will - Beautiful post Kristen, thank you for sharing. Our thoughts and prayers, even without knowing them, goes to Dave, Tiffany and Max…

  • Rachael - So sorry for for the loss this family is going through. Beautifully written Kristen. Thoughts and prayers are with all of you at this difficult time.

  • Claire - How absolutely tragic. My heart goes out to Ellie’s family.

  • Esther - I have tears rolling down my eyes right now, reading this post. I’m so sorry for this family for the loss of their beautiful little girl. My thoughts and prayers are with them.

  • Brooke - My God be with them in this time and use all things for good. I can’t help but cry for the loss of there beautiful little baby girl. Life is so precious!

  • Linda - Heartbreaking….my thoughts are with them. There are just no words for something none of us can understand….

  • Paula - OMG how heartbreaking for this family. Prayers and thoughts for Ellie and her family. What a wonderful gift you have done here to capture her with her family.

  • mom - So heartbreaking. The gift of photos together will remain forever for them, and that is a comfort. Prayers and hugs for them during this difficulty time.

  • Lisa Little - My heart breaks for this lovely family. I am so sorry.

  • Michelle - To loose a child is unimaginable. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and this family.

  • Sandy - God strength be around mom, dad and family and to help heal your pain.. To lose your little angel is heartbreaking. You are in my prayers. Beautiful post Kristen – thanks for sharing Ellie’s life with us.

  • Tina - My heart goes out to Dave, Tiffany & Max. I don’t know you, but my heart hurts for your family. What beautiful images you have of the four of you together. Thoughts and prayers.

  • Laura - My heart breaks for this family. I’m crying as I’m reading this now. Kristen, I’m so glad you were able to capture these precious last moments for them. What a gift that they will cherish forever.

  • brianne brose - My heart breaks just reading this…my little girl is 9 months old right now and the thought of this is just more than I can imagine. May God comfort and give them strength during this time. Sending hugs and lots of love their way right now. You have captured something they can cherish and hold on to forever.

  • Kimberly - Thank you for sharing the images of this sweet, beautiful little girl. Your post is a much needed reminder, both as a photographic professional and as a mom. Thank you. My thoughts and prayers are with the family.

  • Susan - How heartbreaking and I’m so very sorry. Many thoughts and prayers go to this family and to you too Kristen. I’m so glad that they have these pictures.

  • serena - We can only pray friends and family will be with this family in a time like this. Wrap your arms around them and surround with love!!!! Heaven has another special ange!

  • Rebecca - What a beautiful little girl. My heart breaks for her parents. I’ll be thinking of them.

  • Deniece Agnew - I don’t know you and your family, and I would never say I understand what you are going through. But I, as someone you never met nor will ever meet, am so deeply, deeply sorry for your loss. God Bless you and know that your angel is right there by His side. xoxoxo

  • Christina - How heartbreaking! I am thinking of their family and sending strength to get through this difficult time.

  • Jessica - Wow…tears are flowing…my heart breaks for this family… They will be in my prayers!!!!

  • Trina - My heart goes out to the family. So sad, so very very sad 🙁

  • Jo - Oh my. I have a 9 month old daughter called Ellie and we are getting family shots done in 2 weeks time. I have tears as I read this. My heart goes out to Ellie’s family. I am so sorry for their loss.

  • Megan - As I read this, mt heart rose into my throat, and my eyes burned with tears for their loss. I am hugging my child extra close as I write. I am so sorry for their loss of their beautiful girl.

  • Erin N. - How incredibly terrible. My heart is with the family.

  • Erin - My heart is filled with sadness. How amazing that they have the photographs to cherish forever. My heart and prayers goes out to you and the family

  • Jessica - Tears are rolling down my face reading this and my heart is breaking into a million little pieces for this family. What a blessing you were able to give them in the form of photos! My thought and prayers are with you and with the family. Godspeed Ellie!

  • Allison Bower - This truly broke my heart. God please bless this family with peace. What a beautiful angel.

  • Desiree Hayes - 🙁 I’m so so sorry for this family’s loss of their beautiful baby girl. Keeping them in my thoughts.

  • Amanda - I would like to pass on my condolences to this family for their loss, I will be thinking of you. Ellie was a beautiful little girl, just beautiful.

  • kim schmidt - My heart is very heavy right now for this family. Dave and Tiffany please know that people across this country are thinking and praying for your family.

  • Rochel Carver - Kristen i am so thankful you were able to capture that day in the lives of my daughter and her beautiful family. Hopefully those memories will help easy some of the pain that lies ahead. You captured absolutely every thing Elle Belle was…a perfect, lovable angel.

  • Stephanie - My heart goes out to Ellie’s family, I cannot imagine such a great loss.

  • LeolaK - I am so sorry to hear this sad news. I had just come back to your site on Friday and looked at this season again to see this happy joyful family season…and ironically to look at a particular shot of Ellie sitting in the grass. I send my deepest sympathies to this beautiful family and to Ellie. May you remember and continue to feel the love she brought to your life…and your to hers.

  • Sarah Sleeman - I have a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes, your words are so eloquent Kristen. Hearing such a tragic story like this makes me incredibly grateful for what I have. My thoughts are with them.

  • Angie - When I saw the original post of the family I thought Ellie was so adorable, there was something so special I had to keep looking at her. Her smile was breathtaking. I did very much tear up when I read about this even though I don’t know the family. I pray for them in this very tough time.

  • Danielle Storey - Heartbreaking. But you’re right about how much these photos will mean to them. May seem small in the scope of things now, but these images will be treasured. I know what mine meant, and still mean to me. Wishing love and peace to your friends Kristen.

  • Mark & Pam - We’re sorry to hear about Ellie. What a beautiful little girl. Our deepest sympathies go out to her and her family. You are in our thoughts and prayers.