When Liz and I met for her wedding consult she began with the normal details that all brides recount. She chatted at a quick clip about the location – the Society Hill Dance Academy, the timeline and various other details. She envisioned an intimate setting with her and Bob’s closest friends and family – a long, rich history of flourishing and nurtured relationships, brought together in one room, for one evening. It was here that she lingered and perseverated, describing with such depth of love the various attendees importance.
She began to well up with tears, took a breath, apologized (though there was no need) and explained her previous husband had passed away. She was particularly emotional on that day because the route she drove to our meeting was one that was familiar to her – one she drove many time with her husband before he passed and this was the first time that she had driven it since his passing. It became abundantly clear that she needed me to understand and capture the emotional gravity of the evening.
The dichotomy of the overwhelming joy of the celebration of this second breath of life into love and the grief in the remembrance of the loss of a lifetime of love that preceded it, was a palpable feeling. I explained that I understood in my own way, as I’d watched my mother make this same journey through grief and then the affirmation of second love. I was elated that I was being let into Liz and Bob’s journey. I was ecstatic at the opportunity to capture this tremendous act of courage – to love after loss.
I do believe that all love is an act of courage. There is a special type of resilience, courage and vulnerability that deserves our utmost respect and affirmation when one has loved tremendously, for so long, sufferers the traumatic loss of that love and dares to love again and with full abandon.
Liz and Bob were introduced by friends that have been dedicated to their individual joys and journeys for longer than I’ve been alive. I could immediately see why Liz was drawn to Bob’s radiating warmth, pleasant demeanor and wide smile. It was obvious how Bob would be enthralled with Liz’s vivacious enthusiasm for life, oozing gregarity and, of course, those gorgeous curls. So, it was that they learned to dance together. No. Really, they literally learned to dance together. Their journey began with the two step as led by their dance instructor, Tomas, at the Society Hill Dance Academy.
It was a given that this intimate gathering of loved ones would be held at spot where their love bourgeoned. Their reception was complete with dance instruction provided by no less than Tomas, himself. A cacophony of laughter filled the evening while those that could hustle and some with two left feet swayed together.
All of the love that Liz described at our consult was resonating through the room that evening and I was not exaggerating when I told her, I don’t believe I’ve ever photographed so many hugs in one evening.