I love sharing the stories of these hero women… next we have Shelly Geller, to share with you. Her story touched me, as I’m sure it will affect you as well. I feel so blessed to have met such amazing women. I could try to retell her story, but I believe it is more powerful in her own words.
My oldest son flew to Heaven April 20th, 2006.
On the surface it looks like I’ve been a mother for 8 years if you are looking at the age of my ‘children’ but if you look a little deeper, you will see I have been a mother for 10. On April 19th, 2006 I was prompted to start my photography business. I thought the guy upstairs was a little coo coo for cocoa puffs because I was going crazy with two babies 15 months apart. That night I started brainstorming the name of my business, bought my website template and started formulating what has now become my business, Shelly Geller Photography.
The following day was the day my son fell from our second story window and passed away five hours later from head trauma. Little did I know the day before how my prompting was not just going to be a hobby, it was not just a job, it became my outlet, it became my joy, it became my healing. Photography became my way of emerging from the cocoon of grief momentarily as I would connect with my clients kids. Getting them to smile was essentially my way of getting myself to smile. I told (and still tell) my clients, that few people will lose their child to death like I did, but everyone will lose their child to time. These moments will slip through your fingers and looking back you will wish you could grasp a moment of time out of the past and savor it for just a moment longer. That is what my mission is, to provide a means to go back in time and savor those moments for just a little longer when time will inevitably steal your children from your arms and take them into the world.
My mission became capturing so much more than a ‘perfect smiling portrait’, it became capturing an image that conveyed life, love and light. One that documented relationships as they are so that God forbid anything ever happen, you have memories. Our memories that we invest in truly are the only thing that become priceless with the years. My mission was to see more than just a smile, but to look upon the heart and bring out the spirit of the child in my photographs. Sharing my photography was sharing James, by giving to my clients what I wished to give to myself. . . all of the memories of the laughter, the tantrums, the ‘life how it happens’, the funny faces, the mean faces, the hair pulling, crocodile tears, the shy head buried in moms leg. . . because these images, they captured memories. They tell stories. If I could go back. . . I’d take a picture of Him everyday. I just about do with my living children, and they know not to mess when it’s time for pictures and that it’s just what we do ;-).
There were many dark nights, and dark days for that matter. Losing James was the hardest thing I’ve lived through. By losing him I gained so much. I gained love, compassion, sympathy, laughter and gratitude for the moments that to someone else may seem meaningless. I gained a realization of the importance of loving more, living more and giving more. James isn’t lost. He is very much found. You will find him in my work, in my creations, in my hope, in my sorrow, in my joy and very beautifully wrapped up in my heart. He is special, but truly, all of our children are special, no matter what or who or how they may be, whether they are sick, rebellious, in spirit or have a disability, each child is precious because our opportunity to learn to love the way God loves us expands as we love a child . . I have two amazing, beautiful, lovely, wonderful children who I adore and who adore me. There is not a day that goes by that we fail to love, respect and give to one another. The death of a child is by far one of the greatest trials one could face, but with great opposition comes great blessings. These children that are trusted in our care are not ours, they are our Heavenly Fathers child first. And as my mother taught me, ‘these children are just on loan to us.” I am grateful for the 22 months I had with my angel. I am grateful for the 8 years I’ve had with my Spencer and 6 years I have had with my baby Kierah. As Gwen says in the 2nd Spiderman, “what makes life valuable is that it doesn’t last forever, what makes it precious is that it ends. Time is luck, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Fight for what matters now, no matter what.” As silly as it sounds quoting a superhero movie, I loved the advice.
Fight for your children, fight for the time to make memories with your children. Fight for their love. Fight for their life if they are battling illness. Fight for your happiness no matter your circumstances. It’s only through happiness that we can serve the world. It’s through serving the world we honor those we love who are here with us now, who have gone before us to their heavenly home and to honoring our Father on high. It is through our happiness-our true and genuine happiness we bless the lives of our children. That happiness comes from recognizing who is in charge of our life, and as soon as we realize that, that is when we realize the plan of happiness is trusting that our Heavenly Father knows what is right for us.
No matter how hard it might be. Those things that are the hardest in life are what bring us the most reward.
Happy Mothers day. xoxo.
To find Shelly Geller and her beautiful photography, go to:
Aren’t her kids just darling? I thought so too.
Hello! I am Camille, a wife, mother of four, Disney obsessed, certified teacher, and reality optimist. Motherhood comes with its ups and downs, and I hope while you’re here you’ll find something that makes your #momlife easier!