My First Session | Sarah Ireland Photography

Sarah Ireland
Sarah Ireland Photography
Kansas City Volunteer

For the last few years I’ve been trying to channel my grief [after my husband’s passing] into helping others. It’s really a foundation for me learning to find joy in that place in my heart that has felt empty. There is a lot that goes on that people don’t see in public or on social media because grief is strange and unique to everyone. When you lose a child, a husband… someone in your immediate family, there is a comfort in being around people with the same experiences. The people who get it completely. These people, even in their pain, usually root for each other and quickly share a deep bond.

One of my greatest blessings was finding On Angels’ Wings. I’ve always wanted to find something like it. This service is available for families with children going through a scary surgery or who receive a critical diagnosis. It is a small community of photographers all over Missouri who share these moments with families and take these important moments so, so seriously.

All of our memories and photographs are so much more than a “quick pic.” They’re important pieces of our lives and moments with the people we cherish. They hold images of those who make up the bits of our hearts so we can see them when they’re far away or no longer here.

My first OAW session was with Crystal and Ryan, which turned into my second assignment because I adored them and I wanted to stick with them. I was first given the pleasure of doing their maternity portraits. Crystal and Ryan’s son was diagnosed with a disorder that occurs in fewer than 1% of babies annually so we did maternity portraits early. I called on my amazingly talented friend, Kati Swegel, to do Crystal’s makeup and she did a beautiful job, as usual.

Right away, you could feel how strong Crystal and Ryan are. They’re open, honest and kind people. I knew immediately just how much they loved each other and how well they supported each other on every level. It’s refreshing to see the way they lift each other up and compliment each other. I may have teared up when Ryan was watching me do a portrait of Crystal… the way he told her how beautiful she is was so sweet.

A few weeks later, baby Kingston’s C-Section date started getting pushed up. His heartbeat was slowing so it was time to deliver him. Ryan filmed a Facebook live video in surgery once Kingston was born. I was in the waiting room at Children’s Mercy, crying with their loved ones, waiting to go in and see Kingston. We all had little smiles when we saw how much he looked like his daddy. Everyone got a chance to hug and kiss him.

There was no way to know how long Kingston would live once he was here but he stayed with us long enough to meet his extended family and parents’ close friends. Well over an hour. He was strong just like his parents. Every moment he was on earth, he was completely wrapped in love.

Crystal and Ryan have been through life events that could destroy someone. Instead, they have chosen each other, they have chosen strength, they have chosen faith, they voice their blessings frequently and for that and many other reasons, they are an inspiration to many. Please continue to pray for the healing of their hearts.

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