I photographed Rosie and her mommy as one of my Audrey’s Gift families, earlier this year. I loved meeting them, and Rosie’s bright eyes and squishy cheeks were such a delight to photograph!
Our book is now available!
One of the ways I like to gift my photography work is through my yearly Audrey’s Gift sessions. These are sessions where we create portraits for children/families who are going through hardship, be it health, financial or emotional. These families are nominated by you, and I provide the whole session as well as the digital polished images free of charge to the family.
Meet the Rodriguez family, my most recent beneficiaries. Megha is a strong, brilliant woman and a dear friend, who had a terrifying car accident which put her and her young son in grave danger. This session was a celebration of their survival and of the love in their family.
I’ll let Megha’s words tell the story:
“It’s funny how in life you see things, but never imagine they apply to you. I had seen in passing the feature for Audrey’s remembrance in the past, but it didn’t sink in much. Little did I know how precious it would be to have you take our family portraits again. This time around, the latest round of family portraits had been on my to-do list. I was insistent that even though we lived in Florida, we would wait until we could coordinate with you after Amy’s birth to have our pictures done. I was clear that “some day” we would all fly up and make it happen.
On April 1 2014, the concept of “some day” took on a whole different meaning. I didn’t know as I sat pinned in the back of a car, with 2 shattered hips, on I-20 waiting for life flight to retrieve me from a horrific accident scene if I would ever get some day again. Not only was I in the back seat of the car, but my 4-1/2 month old baby was rushed to the hospital with bilateral skull fractures and a subdural hematoma. I want to mention how grateful I am that I was taught to be diligent about not letting a baby’s car seat belt be too loose. If I hadn’t been diligent, it is hard to say what may have happened when his car seat was flipped by the impact.
The extent of my own injuries were so intense that I could not do what would come natural for a mom who wasn’t hurt. I didn’t have to suffer the agonizing moments of not knowing how my baby was. The fog of pain and ensuing anesthesia calmed my grief. After he was released from the hospital, I saw the extensive treatment he had in photos and I cried. My great heartbreak came when I lost the ability to breastfeed him because my pain medication could not be reduced enough to allow for him to continue nursing. I felt robbed that my ability to hold and nurse my own baby was taken from me, on a timeline not to my choosing.
We were living in Florida when this accident happened. It up-ended our entire family life. Because I was in the hospital and my husband had to secure a new way for us to resettle our lives following my release from rehab, our oldest son was left in the loving care of friends in Florida while the rest of us where here. It was a very difficult situation and never would we have imagined our family would face days in the transition when we were all in different places, none under the same roof or knowing what was happening next.
The victory in seeing our family portrait that you did as part of this photo encapsulates the joy that has washed back into our lives following my multi-month rehabilitation process. I’m not 100% healed yet, but it is clear that the power of faith, hope, joy and love have empowered our family to heal.”
All images copyright Oana Hogrefe Photography