Family NaBloPoMo Photography

Intertwining Stories

It’s interesting, the way stories intertwine—the way lives brush up against one another, touch and make a difference, move toward and pull apart.

Pictures with Grandma

My maternal grandmother passed away last night at 8:58. To know it’s coming, to be waiting for the call, to be sitting on the couch watching TV under the afghan your paternal grandmother crocheted years and years before that matches your living room perfectly, and to see the phone light up with your mother’s cell phone number… it is numbing and shocking and everything in between.

In Front of the Door

In early October, we asked Burgh Baby to take photos of the family. We knew grandma was going to pass away. The stage of leukemia she was diagnosed with didn’t leave much time. The photo set to take place one weekend was postponed to another weekend as grandma was admitted back into the hospital due to complications with the progressive disease.

Four Generations

By the time the next weekend rolled around, the whole family couldn’t assemble. My husband couldn’t make it. My brother and his family weren’t able to be there. Grandma endured another complication of her cancer; her eye was swollen shut.

And still we joined together on The Farm on a beautiful October afternoon. I scouted out spots for photos before my favorite photographer and one of my dearest friends arrived. I stood by a the plum tree and looked out over the hill. I looked at how the light might play with our eyes, cast shadows, and what if we just angled a little bit more this way allowing for the golden trees down the hill to be visible in the shot.


The photos arrived the morning before we lost Grandma. I looked through them and my heart slowed; my family is changing. And in the midst of that change, a friend showed up and shared compassion and love for a grieving family. Friends have reached out non-stop over the past four months since we lost my paternal grandmother; they have been equally horrified and saddened that we’ve lost these two women one day shy of four months apart. We have been covered in love by so many people, our stories intertwining with so many others.


In the midst of the heartache and sadness, our family feels the love of so many around us.

Thank you.


All photos by Burgh Baby. She’s an amazing Pittsburgh Photographer and you should hire her. Yesterday.


11 replies on “Intertwining Stories”

Jenna, I am so sorry for your loss. Two such important family figures in 4 months, that’s pretty rough. I am glad you were able to get such beautiful photos. I know there are no words that I can offer that will ease your grief. My best thoughts and prayers for you and your family. (Hug)

Oh, Jenna — I’m so very sorry to hear this. Yes, it may have been expected — but such a sad loss for you and your sweet family. Big love to you from this complete stranger tonight. May your strongest memories of her be happy ones, and the family interactions which are sure to follow this be positive. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts.

I’m so sorry Jenna. My grandmother died around this time 4 years ago. She was 98, and I miss her.
My father has leukaemia and part of me loves the idea of getting everyone together for photos but it’s complicated. It may be that it wouldn’t fit for us. But it’s a beautiful thing to do.

I am so, so sorry for your loss. You have had so much to grieve for in such a short time. I am glad you have such beautiful pictures taken at a place you love to forever capture what a great family you have.

These photos are absolutely beautiful, thank you so much for sharing them with us! They are wonderful keepsake, even though I can imagine it must be very hard to look at them and to know she is no longer with you. I’m praying constantly for you and your family and thinking of you this weekend.

wish i had magic words to make it all better, but i know there is nothing i can say that will ease your suffering. i’m so, so sorry for the loss of a woman who obviously made a wonderful difference in so many lives.
love to you.

I am so glad you had these pictures taken. I wish I had done the same. There was no way any of us could have known we would lose both of my grandparents this year. Your hurt is my own.

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