A few months ago, I was given an opportunity that had a profound effect on me…

My job is a happy job.  Couples in love, new babies, and happy families — a wonderful way to spend my days.  I feel honored to get to enter my clients lives, even for a brief time, and preserve the love and the memories for them.  To see what they love about each other, and capture it.  Again, a happy job.  For the most part, that’s the way I view what I do for a living.  What I learned a few months ago was that it can be much much more.

I received a call from a client.  They asked me to come to Washington DC to photograph their family.  They were anxious to schedule it quickly.

A week after returning home with their second baby girl, the mother was diagnosed with brain cancer.  The prognosis was not good.  In all of their planning, fighting, and coping, this family reached out to me to capture them as they were.  I have to admit, I didn’t quite know how to handle this.  Not only did I feel enormous pressure to give them everything they could want, but my “happy” job was now bringing me to tears.  A friend of mine shifted my perspective, however, when he pointed out that to request these photos meant that the family had accepted what they were facing, and wanted to give their daughters (and Dad) this gift.

The photo session was one of the most impactful I will ever face.  It was wonderful and devastating all at the same time.  We laughed, we sang, we talked, and we spent hours together just being… I have never felt more humbled and honored to get to do what I do for a living.

It was with great sadness that I learned this weekend of the Mom’s passing.  My heart breaks for her husband and high-school sweetheart, and their two young girls.  I can only hope that with time, they will look at the album of images, and smile, knowing what a beautiful and loving mother they had… although too briefly.

Here is a look back at our photo session

I want to thank this family for the opportunity, the honor, the lessons and the inspiration they have given me.  You are and will continue to be in my heart and mind.


I must say that the person shooting the video has a very good eye for capturing precious moments. Some of the shots they took are just soul capturing. I couldnt help but cry seeing how the family interacted with each other. Hope that this will give comfort to the husband and their girls in the years to come.

Kim, I attended Deanna’s Services last week and I saw your video tribute. It was at that moment that I realized how important and necessary it was to capture such moments with my family. Your tribute told a story about Deanna and her family, the way they were and seeing it gave me such peace. When I left I knew Deanna was ok with her departure! As a mother of two young children as well, it was the closure I needed. I thank you and Deanna for that.

I only wish for you, and all of those touched by Deanna’s life, that these images can help keep her alive in your hearts. I have lost people in my life that I’ve never met, yet through stories and memories, I feel I know them better than others that are still with me. It was an honor for me to get to preserve these memories for you, and hope that they can bring smiles through the tears.

There is nothing on this planet that can express how drateful I am to have these touching moments captured of my beautiful baby sister. As hard as I may try, I cannot keep myself from crying at remembering how this world has been made just that much harder with her loss. I can remember all the good times, the hard times, and those times where we recaptured what we were as sisters. I will miss you, Dee and I love you with everything I am…I always have and always will. I will watch over Ju and the kids, I promise…and Mommy too.
Thank you, Kim for this memory.

My sister in law stumbled upon these pictures today while viewing a friend’s wedding pictures. Deanna was our friend in Philly, she was a hostess at my wedding way back (1999) when and we stayed in touch upon her move. I’ll always love her and remember that beautiful smile that lights up a room. I remember when she married how happy I was to know she was so happy. All my love to her girls and her husband. This is a beautiful memory for them. Great job!

The last time I physically laid eyes on Deanna was 8/2005 when she came to Alabama without a second thought to be with me for my wedding. She was like that. A person who would be there for you. I love her laugh, smile, wit, the way she motivates, encourages, and loves. She helped me accomplish goals by offering unconditional support. We have been friends since the 8th grade. I try to not dwell on her passing, and remember our really funny memories, like, she loved for me to act like I was an actress on a soap opera (in the hallways of E&S). That girl would laugh her butt off. Lord you know all, that’s all I can say. You knew she would be an exceptional friend to me and many others, and for that I’m grateful you gave us the blessed opportunity to come across her path. Nadia and Zaria and Jumain indeed captured and gave her the love she so deserved. I will miss you laughing Deanna. I will miss you.

The concept of this video is truly a demonstaration of true bravey and unselfish love. My heart goes out to the family. I pray that this video will help remind Deanna’s family just how special she was and what they meant to her.

To Kim, thank God for your friend and his wisdom to share his perspective. You did a wonderful job and now the world knows how brave Deanna and her family were.

May Deanna’s spirit of encouragement forever be among her family and friends. Rest in peace.

A mother’s courage and a family’s joy beautifully captured through your lense…Peace and Perspective.

I’ve watched the video a few times. The beautiful result is more than the camera or the video. It was your hearts that captured the real beauty.

What a beautiful family photo shoot. I was in tears the entire time. My heart aches for her husband and their two beautiful daughters. May God’s love comfort Ms. Deanna’s loved ones during their great loss. Good mothers are God’s gift to the world. Ms. Deanna is now an angel mommy and I’d like to believe her daughters will thrive and have a positive influence in this world because their angel mommy will be guiding them. I wish Ms. Deanna’s family all the best. Even though I have never met this family, your story will always have a place in my heart and your daughters will be in my prayers.

What a true blessing, that you were apart of this!! We never know how we can touch someone or a family,,, you truly touched me with this… My prayers are with her family, and you!! Keep inspiration alive through these tough times in life!! Thanks for sharing.

There are not enough words to describe the beauty of this tribute!!
I had the pleasure of going to high school with this couple. I send my thoughts and prayers for the tire family. As their babies grow into wonderful women like their mother they will look at this and know they were and will always be loved infinitely!!!!

I whispered a prayer for this family and I smiled at the thought that heaven rejoiced upon the return home of this enlightened soul. I pray that though behind the veil, Mocha will continue to be an important part of her family and that they will all sense her love and her presence in their lives.

I am so devastatling proud to be a Mocha Mom. I didn’t get to meet this amazing woman, but I am so glad to have shared a bond with her just by being a Mocha Mom. My heartfelt prayers are with the family and friends of this woman, thank you for capturing the moments and sharing with her Mocha family. I am the only Mocha where I live and it is a blessing to be able to share in the support of our sister Mochas.

Kim, What a special person you are!!! So proud of you!

They seem like an amazing family. I’m a fellowMocha Mom here in California. My prayers are with this family.

My co-worker was looking at this posting as I walked by her desk. I recognize the husband from my college days at Howard University. It is wonderful to see how God has blessed him with the experience of having married his first love and giving him two beautiful daughters. I love the way you captured the spirit of this family in this precious moment. I am praying for him and his daughters. Specifically that God will meet them in the moments of joy, sorrow, longing and appreciation that may come when they return to this video over the years. I hope they will be reminded, although they must grieve Psalm 30:11 You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my cloths of mourning and clothed me with joy.

Even though I did not personally know the family, as I sit here in tears my deepest condolences go out to them. I relate in the fact that I am a mother, the love shown in these photos is ENORMOUS. Love, respect, happiness, togetherness, acceptance, and joy is what I see and hopefully everyone will see and remember for years to come. This was a GREAT gift of HAPPY memories….what a gift :-)

We pray that you find peace and comfort during your loss. God will continue to keep his angels around your family.

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