Mary is a true fighter. When I spoke with her about her illness while she had her hair and make-up done, I was floored at the obstacles she has to overcome on a daily basis, like driving, sitting, walking up stairs, or even lifting her toddler up in the air. She has been suffering from symptoms of chronic pancreatitis for over 8 years and it has become more challenging with every year. These past few years have been by far the most challenging. She lives with two ports, one in her stomach and one in her arm, where she is fed her daily nutrients and pain medicine. She can not eat food--as her body does not break it down as it should - she is fed through a tube, she can't sit up for long periods of time, so no fun crafts like scrapbooking or painting, and she is in a constant state of pain without her medicine. When her symptoms grew worse, she became unable to work (she is a former special education teacher), and sometimes it's incredibly difficult for her to lift or play with her rambunctious 3-year old boy. She does however take comfort in the moments she gets to snuggle with him during the short time before bed when they all snuggle together as a family to watch tv together.What you should know about this shoot and Mary's strength and determination. This shoot was really hard for her. She was sore and slept for nearly 2 days after she left my studio. It was a lot for her to sit through hair and make-up, and all of those poses- plus the incredibly long drive to and from the studio. This is why: Through the years, her husband has been there for Mary with every challenge thrown at them and he's picked up the slack when she was no longer able to work. He's stuck by her side and loved her unconditionally through sickness and health just as he vowed to her on their wedding day. This portrait session was not only a gift for her, but truly a gift for him - to show him that she loves him, desperately appreciates everything he does for her and their family, and that she still wants to share with him the intimacy in their marriage that they may have lost touch of due to the constant battles with her chronic illness and awfully long stays in-and-out of the hospitals.
Mary toughed it out through her session, even when sitting up can become strenuous, and she stunned us for sure with her gorgeous images.