Last summer, I had the pleasure of meeting Jim and Jamie while we were shooting a wedding together (JA Videography.) Jamie told me she was newly pregnant and they both spoke of their beautiful daughter, Allison, and shared countless stories of parenthood and all things daughters (I could sure relate!)
This past winter, just two weeks after they welcomed their second beautiful daughter, Mikayla, into the world, the unthinkable happened. Twenty month old Allison passed away in her sleep of SUDC (Sudden Unexplained Death of a Child.)
There truly are no words and still, I struggle to write this blog.
This incredible couple has had to endure something that no parent could even fathom. In the emails that Jamie and I have exchanged, there is one thing that persists through the grief and that is her faith. You can hear the pain in her words but through that pain, there is faith.
Here are a few words from Jamie:
“On February 16th our world was forever changed when we had to learn about SUDC (Sudden Unexplained Death of a Child) and our sweet little Allison went to Heaven. Allison was pure joy at 100mph and had a fearless heart full of love. We will never understand the why but wake up each day with a new strength, love, and hope that we can not explain ourselves but by Faith. We are stronger together, choosing to find joy in this “new normal” as we take on the waves and road known as grief. We know that Allison’s radiant love, memory, and fearlessness will be with us forever.”
When I respond to Jamie and tell her how inspiring her faith is, she responds to me with this:
“I honestly do not know how we are able to still see life…well, I do, and I just keep playing Philippians 4:6-7 in my mind – “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ” Only way I can explain it is he peace beyond all understanding because I certainly do not understand but the peace is there.”
Although my mind just can’t quite wrap my mind around all of this, I’m so incredibly thankful for their willingness to share their story and their faith and their desire to keep Allison’s memory very much alive. During their session, Jamie said one thing that will stay with me forever. (And of course, I’m paraphrasing, but she said:) “I don’t know how people cope with grief without faith. When you’re grieving with faith, you still have hope.”
I don’t know if I’ve ever heard more beautiful words and I am so incredibly thankful to help tell their story.