Before it's too late- Terminal Illness Photography

Marlin + Kathleen | Before It’s Too Late | Terminal Illness Photography

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It’s been quiet around here the last few weeks. The end of the busy summer and fall season rested heavily on me and I took a few weeks to step back and catch up. I also unplugged and gave myself a breather to rest and recharge. I’m excited to start writing more, now that the quieter winter season is approaching.

– – –

In August, the local Her Voice publication ran an article about me, written by my friend and talented writer, Mary Aalgaard.

A few days after the magazine was released, I got an email from a lovely lady named Kathleen. She told me she read the article and felt like she should reach out to me.

Kathleen went on to tell me that she and her husband would celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary next month [September], but that he wouldn’t make it to another anniversary beyond that, because he was dying of terminal cancer.

She said that to her knowledge, they hadn’t had a portrait taken of just the two of them, since they were married. In her own words, “We were always going to do it but time just slipped away.”

So, Kathleen wanted to set up a time for me to come out to photograph them, in their home that they built together, savoring their last days together on this earth.

Before it's too late- Terminal Illness Photography

We made a plan and I went out and met Marlin and Kathleen one day at the end of August. We photographed them with their cat, in their porch. We photographed them in their back yard with their dog, and down by the river that they love. We even photographed Marlin sitting on his mower, because mowing their great big lawn was one of his favorite past times. Kathleen told me she always made fun of him and how much time he spent on the mower, so it was fitting to include it in the photos.

We talked, laughed, and I felt extremely lucky to get to see such genuine love and affection between two people after decades of being together.

Kathleen and Marlin loved the photos, and I knew I’d remember them always.

– – –

Yesterday, I got an email from Kathleen letting me know that Marlin passed away last week.

She thanked me for the beautiful photos that are now offering her a huge source of comfort as she grieves the death of her husband.

She wanted me to know how glad she was that she didn’t put off contacting me.

[I can hardly type because my eyes are full of tears.]

Terminal Illness Photography - Brainerd, MN Photographer Laura Radniecki
Terminal Illness Photography - Brainerd, MN Photographer Laura Radniecki
Terminal Illness Photography - Brainerd, MN Photographer Laura Radniecki
Terminal Illness Photography - Brainerd, MN Photographer Laura Radniecki
Terminal Illness Photography - Brainerd, MN Photographer Laura Radniecki
Terminal Illness Photography - Brainerd, MN Photographer Laura Radniecki
Terminal Illness Photography - Brainerd, MN Photographer Laura Radniecki
Terminal Illness Photography - Brainerd, MN Photographer Laura Radniecki
Terminal Illness Photography - Brainerd, MN Photographer Laura Radniecki
Terminal Illness Photography - Brainerd, MN Photographer Laura Radniecki
Terminal Illness Photography - Brainerd, MN Photographer Laura Radniecki
Terminal Illness Photography - Brainerd, MN Photographer Laura Radniecki
Terminal Illness Photography - Brainerd, MN Photographer Laura Radniecki

Seeing these photos, now knowing that Marlin has passed away… I’m torn between extreme sadness and a deep gratitude that we were able to make this session a reality in time.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but don’t wait to be photographed. Life is too short. Photos matter. Photos sometimes make all the difference.

And if you’re battling a life threatening or even terminal disease, please consider being photographed.

Some people might find it too difficult or even too morbid to do a session, knowing what lies ahead. But those photos will serve as a lifeboat for your family as they navigate the waters of grief in your absence.

And, if you wouldn’t mind keeping Kathleen and their family in your prayers as they adjust to their new normal and mourn the loss of Marlin, I’d be very grateful.

xoxo,
Laura

5 thoughts on “Marlin + Kathleen | Before It’s Too Late | Terminal Illness Photography

  1. I absolutely LOVE these.

    Every photograph we take matters- each one in it’s own way.

    About 2 years ago, I photographed a 15 year old boy who passed away less than a year after I took his photos. He was ill since birth, so, they had contacted me when things were getting rough. I had an instant connection with them, and as hard as it was to get through the session with this kiddo’s future in the back of my mind, I was so grateful for the time I spent with them and I am blessed to still be connected to them today! Toughest session I’ve ever done, but also the one that has blessed me most!

    • Hi Jess!

      Thank you so much.

      I love what you wrote – every photograph matters, just in different ways. So, so true.

      Oh wow – what a sad story. I’m sure those photos are a huge blessing to his family, and will continue to be forever.

      xo! Laura

    • These picture could not be more perfect. I have known Kathleen and Schulz for many years and the pictures are simply perfect. You are an aswsone photographer. Beat work and your words are so true, never wait, you never know what might happen

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