Intro by Skip Cohen
This post, from Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep volunteer Jamie Galloway, first ran back in February on her blog. She's an Affiliated Photographer in Michigan. While it was hard for me to not tear up reading it, just before sharing, I love the way Jamie has written it and opened her heart. I love the way she makes the point about the child, going back and forth between a little boy or girl. I love the way she's taken us on her journey, from the perspective of a NILMDTS volunteer.
But, here's what I loved the most...at the end of her post she had written,
Hi, I’m Jamie, and I’m you’re Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep volunteer photographer. Thank you for allowing me the honor of capturing your precious angel.
And then she added...
Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep provides the gift of remembrance photography to parents are suffering the loss of a child. They are always seeking more volunteer photographers. If you have it in your heart to help heal, please consider applying.
Every NILMDTS volunteer, who I've met, has talked about the honor of being allowed to help these families so much in need of healing. They often talk about their first assignment and being afraid of not being able to hold back the tears. They never realize until they're actually photographing these babies that they're really "capturing love" as co-founder, Cheryl Haggard talked about. Every volunteer has a similar life-changing experience and often talk about their personal growth as a result of helping families heal.
This is recruitment month for NILMDTS - More information is just a click away on the banner above.
In the mean time, meet Jamie Galloway...
The call comes in.
Within minutes, my camera bag is packed. I grab my Ice Light and my special case of swaddling blankets. Then I’m driving. Sometimes it’s 10 minutes. Sometimes it’s an hour or more. We go where we are needed. The whole time I’m praying for you. This mother’s heart cannot even fathom what you’re going through.
I check in at the front desk. The badge I wear explains it all, the receptionist giving me a knowing look and leads me through a maze of corridors.
I enter with a kind smile. I give you a hug. I peer down at your angel and comment on how beautiful he is. How perfect she is. I give gentle direction in posing you with him in your arms. I offer encouragement while posing her in daddy’s hands. I cry with you. I cry for you. I stand in awe of your strength, knowing that your child wouldn’t live much beyond birth, and you chose to carry him to term. My heart breaks for you, when yesterday she was moving in your belly, but sometime during the night, in the warmth of your womb, she slipped away.
Sometimes your angel is in another room for me to photograph. I talk to her. I sing to him. I handle her so tenderly, and work to capture every tiny detail. The swirl of hair at the top of her head. The tiny wrinkles on the bottom of his feet. Those miniature but oh, so perfect, fingernails. I wrap him in a blanket I’ve brought to gift to you. I imagine this makes these images feel more personal, and less hospital-like.
Upon departing your room, I can usually make it to my car before I have to stop and let it out. This mother’s heart grieves for you. Breaks for you. Prays for you.
I retouch your images painstakingly, carefully, to show how beautiful your baby is. These are the precious, tangible memories you’ll carry with you forever. “Capture a moment of love, give a lifetime of healing”.
My friends say they don’t know how I can do this. I feel such a strong call to it, I don’t know how I can’t. I seek to honor every tiny life God has formed with His hands.
Image and post copyright Jamie Galloway. All rights reserved.
4/13/2015 08:02:25 am
This is so beautifully written. I felt your heart in every word. Our family experienced the birth of an angel baby last year and I truly cherish every photo we have of my niece's precious Baby Ayden. He took a piece of our heart with him to Heaven. The gift you provide to these families is indescribable ... Thank you for everything you do and for your open heart.
Margaret McGory Moffit
4/13/2015 08:21:16 am
Jamie ~ how beautifully you've phrased how "we" feel ~ every session is different
4/13/2015 02:10:06 pm
I read this and it brought tears to my eyes for I have lost a baby and the way you process how you do your work is amazing and kind empathy is a powerful thing! Thank u!
4/13/2015 03:05:37 pm
My daughter , Amy Lingenfelder is a NILMDTS volunteer here in Maryland. She has talked a little about her experiences and I am just amazed and so proud of her for doing this. She just shared this post. It is 10 pm and I a 56 year old 6'3" 240 lb normally tough guy am sitting here sobbing like a baby. God bless you all for what you do
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