To be completely honest this is a hard blog post to write…as I am updating my blog with images and memories of sessions from this past year. They are showing up in alphabetical order in my files. This one, “Drew”, came up and a part of me wants to avoid posting. It makes me sad. But it also makes me smile. I am still working on finding every last image to edit from this session. You see Drew took his own life in January…and it is heartbreaking. I have known Drew since he was in elementary school. He was in my son Tommy’s class, another one of his former teammates from childhood sports. Drew was quiet on the outside but so very funny on the inside. We had fun at his session, I think he was even surprised at how much fun photos could be. We brought along his dear friend Olivia, I often suggest to Moms of boys to bring along someone you know will make them smile, relax and be themselves. Olivia helped to bring that out in him. We had fun. We laughed. Little did I know that these photos would be used for a funeral service 6 months later. But this has also has reminded me of the power of photographs to bring back a moment in time, an expression…you can hear laughter in photos if you really listen. You can close your eyes and be right back in that spot. I believe that with all of my heart. Photos are powerful.
What I also know to be true is that Drew loved Jesus. Drew and his family attend the same church that we do and I know they love Jesus. You could see that in Drew, in how he was humble, kind-hearted and had a sparkle in his eye. Something I learned about Drew is that he had a heart for those with special needs, in particular a special friend of mine named Katie. Katie told me that Drew often sat at lunch with her, that he always said hello to her. That tells you his true heart. While he was a leader on the football field, and in his academics and that could have made him boastful if he would have allowed it but nope his true heart was filled with kindnesses and selfless acts. He sat with Katie, while he could have sat with anyone else in that lunchroom, he chose a sweet girl with down syndrome. If that doesn’t reflect the kind of person he was I don’t know what else does.
Suicide is not an easy topic…ever. But one thing I have learned through this experience and was spoken at his wonderful funeral is that suicide is one moment, one decision. We cannot allow one decision a person makes to cloud your memories of a person, or define your relationship with them. While this decision Drew made changed his life and those who loved him greatly..it was truly one decision. All of the other many wonderful choices he made in his life matter and cannot be lost. The reflection of the kind of young man he was, the friends he loved, how much HE was loved by many, his family who he held dear and his relationship with Jesus were TERRIFIC choices and decisions he made in his life. Drew has left a legacy, while his life was shorter than we feel it should be…he has left fingerprints on many people in those 18 years.
I believe that if you love Jesus, if you have a personal relationship with Him you will have eternal life in heaven. Therefore I believe I will see Drew again in heaven…and the details of this life on earth will not be so important then but the kind of heart he had while on this earth will still matter. I am honored and privileged to share with you these moments I shared with Drew.