When I’m having a crappy day, everything in the world feels like it’s crumbling apart around me too. It’s easy for me to get caught up in this swirl of negative energy. I can swim around in it a bit, allow myself to feel a little sorry for myself. In some weird way, it can feel sort of good – to be angry and peaved. It’s a great distraction from getting done what needs to be done. Of course, we all know it doesn’t do a bit of good. I usually need a swift kick of reality and perspective.
Today it is this family. And all the NICU families, really. I’ve been volunteering as a NICU photographer at Franklin Square Hospital since 2011. And it is the place I helped to create the Wall of Hope for new families whose lives have taken an unexpected twist. I used images to tell a story of the progression of the NICU baby, of family love, hope and success. I’ve heard it’s been really helpful for new families who walk that hall day in and day out to take care of their little angels. And in the midst of their own pain & confusion, they nurture & provide hope the best way they can as new parents. It’s quite an experience to be there when all of this is going on. The NICU nurses & doctors are absolutely amazing, as well.
On this given day there were 15 babies in the NICU. They were full to the brim. I usually don’t have a ton of time with each family. So, I connect as fast as I can and try to make beautiful story-telling images for the families. This family of 4 was cramped into a space protected by curtains, and then I show up in gloves and protective clothing, climbing over wires and tubes. I had about 2 feet to work in. But, that made no difference for the love & nurturing I saw between the two older siblings and their newest twin siblings. It was so wonderful to witness. And I felt really honored to be in there witnessing this exchange of love & curiousity.
So, when I’m feeling crappy & sorry for myself I’m going to divert my energy to remember this moment I witnessed with them in that cramped little space with two babies fighting for their life to survive and their loving family fighting right along side them.
A little taste of the Wall of Hope