The following words are from my wonderful guest blogger, Natalie. She booked me for a family shoot for her sister and herself and their families. The words here are hers, unedited. Please take the time to read them and watch the small AV of images afterwards. Thank you
My big sister Claire was always been there to make me feel better and look out for me as a child and as adults we became even closer when we unexpectedly became pregnant at the same time. We had our daughters Amelia and Megan on the same day in 2003 and since then have always been there for each other.
Nine and a half years later I thought that life was perfect, I had two more children Eliza and Evan and Claire had a son Oliver and was expecting a third child. About half way through her pregnancy it appeared that Claire was ‘not right’ at first sounding just like she had a cold, then rapidly her speech began to slur. She was referred to a specialist just before her due date and after 4 days of tests, received the awful news that she had Motor Neurone disease, a terminal illness with no cure. Thankfully the baby was not thought to be affected by the illness and Benjamin was delivered safely on October 1st 2012.
This time last year we were pushing our pushchairs around the shops in town and chatting over tea and cake in cafes like any other sisters. Despite the MND affecting her speech, Claire was still able to walk like anyone else and with the pushchair to hold onto a slight limp was the only outward sign of the disease. We even got disapproving looks from pensioners when we unloaded the pushchairs from the car in the disabled parking bays! but as Ben’s 1st birthday approached, I thought about the massive difference in Claire, who now uses a walker to get about the house and an electric wheelchair when she is accompanied out and how this has changed her children’s lives.
I wanted to mark the occasion with a family outing so that we could all have some fun with the children as we used to (this year has been hard on the children too). So I arranged a day at Bradgate Park, to go for a stroll in the autumn sunshine. Claire loves the autumn leaves. My joy of my nephews first birthday plans, were tinged with sadness though as I wondered how many birthdays he might have his mum here for and if it were not to be many, then how would he remember her?
A friend put me in touch with Barbara Leatham, a photographer; who I discovered has a portfolio full of breath taking countryside family photo shoots. So Barbara accompanied us for a weekend photo shoot. A family stroll to capture for Ben, Oliver and Amelia a time with their mum, being a mum. For Megan, Eliza and Evan a happy time with their Auntie and cousins, precious photos for them to cherish in the future. A birthday gift which I hope will be with Ben and all of us forever.
Thank you so much Barbara for helping me be there for my sister and for capturing the love and fun a family share forever.