Passion fuels you, grief reminds you

Ok, Caitlin, thanks for hitting us right in the feels at the title…

Yup, I did that.  So, forewarning, I couldn’t even get through downloading these images without crying so if you’re anything like me, I’ll give you a minute to go grab some tissues…

*insert Jeopardy countdown song here* (you sang that in your head, didn’t you?)

Now for the reason you’re here.

Photography has always spoke to my spirit.  My Nana has always had framed pictures of her and my grandpa’s childhood and family lining the halls in her home.  She has meticulously crafted albums for each one of her grandchildren and their families.  I have always loved going to her home and opening up the ‘Caitlin’ album, and there, in front of my face is my childhood.

My Mom and I used to go antiquing when I was a teen.  I guess you could say I’m a little sentimental at this point.  But, what has always tugged at my heart strings is whenever I’ve seen someone’s family photos, their family history just sitting in a basket to be dug through by 100 fingers looking for someone to take them home.

And frankly, and this may be hard to believe but, photographs are some of my most treasured items – don’t gasp too hard now!  Have you ever had someone ask you, “If your house caught on fire what would be the 3 things you’d grab first?”  Most people say things like “birth certificate, cell phone, computer”.  And frankly, before I had my children, it was always my pictures – that’s it.  Now it’s husband, children, pictures.

But, let’s face it, most of us don’t bother with prints anymore.  My oldest daughter was born right on the cusp of digital being all the thing and prints being an outdated commodity only to be used for special occasions.  But, I can’t say that I know many people my age who have albums carefully crafted so that when the perfect time arises it can be grabbed and they all can be whisked away into another day of fond memories – through the good and the bad.

If you think about it right now where are 90% of your memories stored?  If you said on your phone, Facebook or computer, I’d say you fall in line with most of us!  But here is where I want to change that for you.  And why prints are so important to me – and why even more so I’m striving to make sure that you don’t ever finish working with me without prints to hang on your wall or to be put in an album for you, and your children, and your grandchildren and so on.  Because, c’mon, you didn’t get all gussied up to have a dusty digital file, did you?

Now here’s where I talk a tad serious, if you are ok with that of course, keep reading…

My baby sister got married in 2015.  And oh man, it was such an incredibly beautiful wedding.  They were married at the end of June, but that was not the original plan.  Her and her husband had originally wanted to be married in the winter, or maybe it was spring, but either way, our parents had asked them to move up their date.  Yikes! That could be really stressful for a bride and groom to be.  But, let me tell you a little back story.

In 2010 I had moved from Washington State to Arizona with my Ava.  About 6 months into being here I got a call from my Dad.  He had been struggling with some health issues and the Doctors were doing all kinds of tests to try and figure out what was going on with him.  MS, mesothelioma, all kinds of possible scenarios were discussed.  It turned out my Dad suffered from Sjogren’s and pulmonary fibrosis.  What this meant was the Sjogren’s – which is a moisture wicking disease – was taking fluid from his lungs and the pulmonary fibrosis was creating a honeycomb affect hardening his lungs.  With the attack being focused so much on his lungs the estimated life given to my Dad was 5 years.  But man, was my Dad one heck of a fighter.  He fought as long as he could and that was the plan – get as much use out of his own lungs as he could until he could get a lung transplant.

But, turns out, when you’re on medication to slow the spread of 1 disease, it can cause more medical issues.  And those medical issues affected other organs and therefore he wasn’t able to be a recipient for an organ transplant anymore.  That was likely some of the most devastating news I’d received to date.

So, with that, the wedding date was moved up to June of 2015 and plans went into warp speed.  My sister and her husband planned their Washington wedding all the way from Arizona with the help of many hands and we all did all we could to celebrate the two of them on what all of us knew would be the last big celebration for our entire family.  You see, our Dad passed away in February of 2016 ….. and then, just a few short months later, so did our Papa.  Just like that, in a blink, they were gone and all we have now are the memories inside our hearts and the pictures we hang on the walls.

Only 2 of my children remember my Dad.  Weston was almost 2 when he passed and Charlie, well, that was much later.  But, all of them can relive joys and some good laughter through the stories we’re able to tell and the pictures I share with them.  But one day, we won’t be here either, and at that point I’d love to know that the love can be passed down through many generations through the most special of keepsakes – our images.

There is a reason they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words”.  Images literally speak.  They can be felt.  You can look at a picture and remember what it was like to sit and talk about life with that person.  To hold their hand.  To argue and rejoice with them.  To dance and to laugh with them.

Don’t let your images be dusty digitals.  Don’t pass on a Facebook full of memories to your children.  Do take more pictures.  Do BE in more pictures (I’m talking to all you Mom’s out there – that will be a post for another day).  Do trust your photographer when they remind you that these are memories that deserve to be put up on the walls, that deserve to be celebrated every single stinkin day.  “Another day” will come and go, don’t blink or you’ll miss it.

Love you guys!


I want to thank the amazing & ever talented Byron Urvina for capturing all these images I’ve attached from my baby sister’s wedding day.  If you live in Washington State & need a remarkable photog/friend – he’s your guy.

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  1. Morgan Archer says:

    This was so amazingly written. Thank you for being so vulnerable and sharing❤️

  2. Caitlin says:

    Thank you for reading this ♡ it definitely was written through some tears but with loads of truth.

  3. Emily says:

    Beautifully written!

  4. Tami says:

    I have always loved looking at pictures and if there was ever a fire in my house the pictures will be the first things besides my dogs that I will get out of the house. What you said was very emotional and beautifully written. I miss your dad and papa every day!! I also miss you!! Love Aunt Tami

    • Caitlin says:

      Thank you Aunt Tami. It was definitely not something easy to write about but it absolutely came from the heart. I miss them greatly – miss you as well! Tell Ryan to give you a hug from me!

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