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Walter and his bride…{Brandon Fl lifestyle photographer}

I am always honored to document the “beginnings”. Engagements and weddings, births and family life. But there is no greater honor than documenting the “endings” (which is really a new beginning again).
I am no stranger to what death brings upon a family. I have witnessed loved ones passing and felt the ache. I remember seeing my father’s strong hands neatly folded over his chest as they closed a casket and the physical pain my soul endured of never being able to touch those hands again. I remember my brother’s frail body being wheeled from his home and into a truck to take him away-relieved he would no longer suffer but sadden by all he endured. I remember standing in the bedroom doorway witnessing my mother draped across my grandmother’s body-sobbing tears of grief and joyous relief that my grandmother finally let go from the ugliness of this world. I will carry these moments in my heart and mind forever, but what I wouldn’t give to have it documented in a photograph-even if it would be painful to look at again- the pain reminds me I’m alive. I’m human-and it’s alright to feel sad. Sadness brings grace and mercy and those bring healing {If we let it}.

It’s an extremely sensitive and intimate time for families-bittersweet goodbyes while still remembering and honoring the person’s extraordinary life.

It’s humbling to be ushered into a room as part of the family and with each click of the camera, I listen to stories about the person’s life. The couple’s wedding day and first home together. The stories of combat in WWII that he would repeatedly tell over family dinners and gatherings-everyone wanted to hear again like it was the first time.

This was a rare love indeed. With each sign of death approaching for Walter, Ida’s body mimicked his symptoms. She refused to be separated from him. Constantly with her hand upon his chest-and when his hand slipped to his side during sleep, I personally witnessed her tapping his chest to remind him to bring his hand back up for her to hold it.

Pastor Walter Chapman and Mrs Ida Chapman had been married for 65 years. He preached until 86 years of age and went home to be with Jesus on Sunday, January 11, 2015 with his beloved bride close at his side. Years of sickness have weakened Ida’s body, yet her main cause of weakness is grief and it appears she will be joining her beloved soon. Please keep this family in thought and prayer over the next few days and weeks to follow. Mrs Chapman is eager to be with her groom once again.