So, we did this thing…the Heilmans took family pictures this year! Not only that but we used them to send out a Christmas card in 2020! Say what? While that may seem normal to most of you, we have not done this in many years. We used to send out an annual Christmas card with all the kids’ pictures and a nosey letter that updated everyone on the goings-on in the Heilman Household, but we haven’t done that since Halle died. It just did not seem right to take a family picture without her. I avoided even taking casual pictures of the four of us together – because there is just a hole in my heart, and I didn’t want to see it in the photos as well.
But 2020 has been a crazy year and I decided why not try to bring more joy to our day. I only trusted one person with these pictures. Brooke Hamilton of Hamilton Creek Photography. She is a friend that has sat through many Heilman stories, offered up numerous hugs, and helped me laugh through life the past couple years I have known her. Most of all though, she has a gift – a gift for photography that she even shared with Neeley before Neels went to Holland for her Make-A-Wish photography trip! I trusted Brooke with that gift to honor our family of five. She knew this was difficult for me and respected the process. She also helped us find a way to honor Halle in the pictures. Losing a child is the most difficult thing I have been through in life…and continuing that life without her continues to bring heartache and pain, but I truly felt Halle with us on this day and found joy in honoring my sweet girl in 2020.
It should also be noted that I hate pictures of myself. I am not comfortable with being in pics with my kids or anyone for that matter. But our fearless photographer taught me the importance of being part of my family memories and learning to step outside my comfort zone and to step in front of the camera to be there for them. I could not be happier with the outcome of our 2020 photos and am excited to do this again next year. We will just have to find new ways to honor Halle each year in this new tradition. Merry Christmas and may your New Year be filled with Health, Happiness, and more Photos! Lots of Love!
from the Heilmans!
Ben (14), Jill, John, Neeley (17), and Halle (forever in our hearts)