May 18th, I had the opportunity to photograph a wedding at St. Johns Catholic Church in Benton Harbor. Father Bill, a priest I had met several times was the officiant and the wedding ceremony he performed was personal, touching, amusing, loving and his words were simply perfect for a wedding. I’m not Catholic and Father Bill is the one I would like to perform my wedding ceremony (but that’s not legal, is it???). Andrew was marrying the love of his life, a beautiful woman, Emily. I had seen them several times at parties and through my photo work for Tabor Hill Winery. Seldom have I seen such a beautiful loving couple as you could feel the joy between the two of them. That is not something seen often.
Another oddity about the wedding is that seldom have I had as much fun photographing a bridal party as all of them were just a hoot being together. Crazy, insane and laughing to bust a gut. We took photos on the streets in Benton Harbor, in the Arts District, the yacht basin and the pier in St. Joseph, some of my favorite places for photos.
Yesterday, while enjoying a beer at one of my favorite “haunts,” The Idler in South Haven, I received a call from Andrew who told me that Emily had passed away. How can someone so full of life, joy and love be gone? He called to ask that I print a couple of photos of her for the funeral. The bottom line is “I’ll do you whatever you want.” It’s more like—-“how can I help?” Today, I’m going to deliver the prints to Andrew’s parents. Her funeral is Thursday and who is going to be there? Father Bill who married them just 7 weeks ago.
Life is what you make it. Be joyful and grateful for every day. Fill your life with good people. The ugly ones,…..leave behind in the dust because they’re not worth your time. Love people and let them love you. Find joy in the little things of life. My father has said something all his life that when I was younger, annoyed me. As I get older, time has proven him more and more correct: “when you have your health, you have everything.” Dad, you’re right and see,…..I do remember what you told me. See Dad, I do listen to you.
Back to Emily, I remember the joy that you shared with Andrew. Wedding days are always joyful but the two of you had something different, special; a joy that I could feel. One of my favorite photos is of she and her sister dancing on a picnic table. I was blessed to know this beautiful young woman who married a great guy.