As many of you know, I volunteer for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, providing free photography services to those who have or are about to lose their child. It's very difficult, but very rewarding and I come across similar situations occasionally at my day job with Bella Baby Photography, which is where this story takes place.
A few weeks ago was the most difficult session I've had to date. I won't provide details, but my heart goes out to the family. I spent nearly an hour taking photographs of the baby with her mother and siblings and even took her outside at her mom's request. Today, a social worker came up to me at work and thanked me again for taking pictures. She said that a couple days later, the mom came back to the hospital and showed her a memory book she had made from the photos I took, and that she had used some in a collage at the baby's viewing.
I choked up and nearly started crying right there in the hallway at work. To know that they were touched and helped by the images I took, that they have those tangible memories to cherish, that's all I need. I saw a father post a couple images of his daughter on facebook and it's so touching. Another family is still occasionally in contact with me, two years later. It's not quite something I can be happy about, because the situation is overwhelmingly sad, but I'm glad to help these people, these families who can never take their child home.
Do what you can for people. If someone needs and deserves your help and you can provide it, do so. It makes the world a better place.