• Ashton

Pace Family | Documenting the Hard Times, Too

So many times I will say how I love that I get to be a photographer because I get to be there for the special moments and surprises that nobody else gets to know- gender reveal parties, pregnancy announcements, proposals, birth stories, that sort of thing. What I don't say as often is how grateful I am to be there for the extra special and tender times, too.

Here is the beautiful Pace family. Mandy is one of my second cousins (or something like that! How the heck do you even know?!), and we grew up just down the road from each other. We were always at each other's houses on Saturdays- baking brownies, braiding each other's hair, and playing Sonic on the Nintendo 64. It's safe to say I love her a lot. A few years ago she contacted me to photograph her elopement to Dustin. I had never met him before their wedding, and within minutes of meeting him, I could just tell how sweet he was with her. He cried as she read her vows to him, and just never took his eyes off from her. I loved him for loving her.

Dustin has been through endless treatments for his cancer. He is currently battling his second round of colon cancer that has progressed to stage 4 and spread to his bones. He has been through chemo, radiation, and even some trial studies to fight this. I've seen them go through periods of strength and then periods of extreme difficulty, too.

Mandy messaged me to take their family photos this year because it might be their last photos with Dustin. Insert immediate tears and gratitude for the trust they had in me to capture this special time in their lives.

As we shot, Dustin was weak, you could see it in the way he moved. He wanted these memories captured for his girls, though, and I am so grateful they let me be there to witness this miracle of strong love. Capturing the moments of hard and pain and sorrow are sometimes more important that the moments of joy. Through the darkness comes the greatest love and bonds, and I know that one day this family will be so thankful they decided to capture these special moments.

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