I’m a true believer that things , situations happen in our lives for a reason. Sometimes those reasons just aren’t so obvious and months maybe even years later, you still can’t understand why. How are these things supposed to make us stronger when in reality we feel so much weaker, as though a piece of us has died inside……
This past summer I tragically lost a beautiful friend , a mentor, a peer, a brother …. Eric Langlois. But he wasn’t just that, he was so much more. An AMAZING father to his children Avery and Ryder , the soulmate to my friend Amber , a brother , a son , a mountain biker, a sarcastic genius and a talented, damn was he talanted , photographer and owner of Raw Photo Design. Working with Eric and Amber I got to witness their connection and form a friendship with them that I haven’t had in a long time, that I don’t think he ever knew how much I cherished. Maybe he did. After all he was a man with few sentimental words (more like a mischievous grin ) but loved with wit, sarcasm and his heart. So many times I would catch the two of them snuggled in a corner somewhere having a moment. A moment that sometimes I couldn’t resist snapping a picture of as the two of them were seemingly being vulnerable to each other. In actuality it was usually Eric telling Amber to get to work all while flirting with her in some roundabout way. She would flash him that smile, let out a cute laugh, and his heart would melt every time which quit often lead her to getting away with whatever she was doing lol . He LOVED his wife, he ADORED his children and he kicked ASS with his talent. You may have heard his name, you may have had the pleasure of knowing him. If you did …. you know how heavy his loss was. Not just to his family , but to a whole photography community of brothers and sisters. Hard to believe it’s been 7.5 months. It just doesn’t feel possible still.
Though his loss left a gaping hole in many hearts , what he left behind is SO AMAZING. A gift……. a genuine priceless gift. One that for the next 6.5 months we would have to wait patiently for ( though some of us may have been more patient then others lol ). I remember the day Amber invited me to capture the birth of the new life Eric had left her , the last piece of him for all of us to hold on to. Could I do it ….. Could I hold myself together knowing that he wasn’t going to be here to be a part of this. I was honored to do it. Without a doubt, I knew I could do it.
After long months, a baby shower , numerous texts, phone calls and several get togethers, the day FINALLY came for Amber to head to the hospital. With her sister Stacey by her side her Dr informed Amber it would be hours. Well just like every other birth this was no exception, unpredictable as well, this little being had it’s own agenda. From 4 cm’s to 10 in an hour Amber delivered at 2:29 am ! At 4:15am I received a text from her that read : ” The baby is here! and HE’S BEAUTIFUL! ! ! ! ” I just remember staring at that message reading it over and over with excitement before it finally hit me… ” HE ?!? ” , ” HE ! ! ! ! ! ! ” , ” IT’S A BOY! ! ! ! ! ! ” That was it……. He was here ! It didn’t matter that I missed the birth, my first time ever in 6 years of photographing births, what mattered was…… HE WAS HERE! BRODY MICHAEL LANGLOIS was here ! ! ! “Come as soon as the floor opens for visitors!” was her last text to me before I lay in bed counting down the hours and minutes when I’d finally get to meet this little man.
I arrived to the hospital and couldn’t resist hugging Amber and telling her how proud of her I was and that she did great! Brody was peacefully sleeping. Not wanting to disturb him, after all, we know how exhausting birth is, I couldn’t stop smiling from ear to ear as I could feel my heart dancing. I pulled my camera out and started taking pictures as Ambers family began filtering in to her hospital room. All of them eager to meet the new life we have been gifted , so I stepped back and took in the moments. Avery and Ryder were meeting their new sibling for the first time. Their awe…… their excitment at learning they had a baby brother….. priceless.
After awhile it became my turn to snuggle him as Ambers family was leaving. In the moment that Brody was handed to me….. I felt something different. What, I wasn’t sure. I just sat down holding him in my arms so that he would be facing me and I looked into his eyes and began talking to him.Of course in that moment I was promising Eric I would teach him all about the “Inverse Square Law”. ( did I forget to mention that Eric was also a self admitted tech lighting geek? go ahead….. look it up ). After a while I realized why I originally had been afraid to hold him. I was afraid I’d cry. On a day as amazing as this, I didn’t want to cry, especially not in front of Amber who had shown SO MUCH STRENGTH in these past months. Strength that Eric would be SO PROUD OF. Rather, I know he IS proud of. And I didn’t.
A little while later Eric’s dad, Denis arrived. A man of few words but when he smiles, his eyes smile too as they did at the first sight of Brody. The nurse handed him to Ambers father in law and I picked up my camera once again as Denis sat down with the baby. I watched him through my lens, taking in this moment that I felt guilty but had the pleasure of witnessing. It was breathtaking. A moment that made me realize what I too had felt that I’m not sure any camera could capture. It was a shift. A shift in our grieving process, or at least mine. My shoulders began to feel lighter and I became aware that I was no longer grieving, that I was in a place of joy. Is this what everyone else was feeling ? I’m not sure. I do know Eric’s loss will sit with us for some time if not forever there is no doubt about that. His absence is felt. I also know that life goes on and we have the rest of his family , our family to enjoy it with. This baby, Brody Michael, is a pure gift. A gift to heal the broken hearts.