If you watch the news you know that natural disasters and other destructive events take place all the time. When something hits like a fire or an earthquake they follow people back to their homes to experience their return home with the homeowner. If the home was destroyed the moment of return is devastating. People begin asking the question, “if you could save any one thing what would it be (aside from family and pets). It’s pretty universal, people would save their photos, those memories of a life prior to catastrophe.
Leave it to Amber Augustin to understand the importance of capturing those memories. Amber’s family was on ABC’s Extreme Makeover Home Edition last night and her back story is incredible. Yes, like so many other participants their home was destroyed or is falling apart due to flood. They are still paying that mortgage and paying rent in a condo. Amber’s story is the inspiration for this share. Her son was born ten weeks premature and they had exhausted all treatments. In the very last moment her son took a turn for the better and with lots of help is leading a wonderful life today. She asked herself about those gripping moments of love and fear and in most cases they aren’t captured.
Amber created “Tiny Works of Heart”, where she goes and takes photos of children born premature or those who are born and aren’t expected to live. It gives families the opportunity to have that child in their lives forever. It allows the family to spend their time with the child in whatever life it has and after the child dies. It’s not like she takes a couple of photos and gives them to a family. She is really a photographic archivist/historian for the family. One family has 1100 photos of their child during the 7 hours the child was alive…you do the math. She has photos of little feet, hands, toes, parents holding the children, etc.
What are the pictures you hold on to and do they provide you with strength. I know that many people who are using social networks like facebook are pulling out their high school yearbooks to refresh their memory of those in their class. We can look at an old prom picture and remember those we shared defining moments with as we ventured toward adulthood.
When facing a chronic or life-threatening illness these memories can be like time-released capsules of medication. They can reinvigorate your connections, reducing isolation, increasing your level of authenticity and understanding that you have and continue to make a mark on this world. We all want to leave a legacy and it’s a daily process. What picture are you taking today? What does it say about you? How many documentaries have we seen about someone facing a health challenge, gaining inspiration from being immortalized forever on film. It’s an amazing experience.
Make your mark! Do it with presence of mind!