I first met Stacie and Basil back in October. Stacie’s twin sister, Jamie, contacted me to do family portraits. She told me that time was of the essence because her brother-in-law Basil had been diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer. His diagnosis was terminal.
I was swamped with sessions for the holidays but I knew that I had to make it work.
We agreed to a session in November but things took a turn for the worse. We needed to get everyone together as soon as possible. Basil’s tumor had grown and doubled in size. I asked them to come to my home and we would do the session in my backyard. It wasn’t perfect but I knew that’s not what they were looking for. They simply wanted to freeze time. To capture their love for each other and hold on to it forever.
When they arrived at my house, I was sooo nervous. I had just lost my father a few months before and my emotions were still so raw. I felt like I might cry meeting him, knowing that at some point, he would leave his wife and children behind. I couldn’t sleep the night before and I couldn’t eat. I felt a ton of pressure to get it right and make it perfect. Finally, after meeting everyone, I felt at ease. I wasn’t meeting someone who was sick. I met a man who was full of life.
I remember giving him a hug. He was so tall. And handsome. He had a great smile. I remember wanting to hug Stacie too. To wrap my arms around her and somehow take all the pain away. She seemed so brave and hopeful. They both did.
And those boys! Those precious adorable boys!
The session went smoothly and I felt like I had made new friends. Stacie, Basil and I kept in touch. I attended a fundraiser for him. We chatted over Facebook and I kept up with his progress. Not too long ago, in April, I was contacted again. This time for a session with Basil’s side of the family. We met in Westfield. Things were different. Basil had less energy. He had been receiving treatments that were tough on his body. He was moving slower, but I was still greeted with a warm hug.I left that session feeling sad.
When I read on Facebook this week that Basil had been rushed to the hospital, I feared the worst. Stacie, who has been so strong through all of this, has been kind enough to post updates knowing how many people care about her and Basil. The news was not good. He was dying.
Her update this morning. “I laid in his arms all night. My exhaustion led me to a deep sleep. I felt his breathing and thanked God for his breath, his love for me and our children. I thanked God for his life. With out this gift I would be without my two most amazing blessings. He is still fighting as expected … But things are labored. It’s getting much harder. God is wanting him. My love for this man is infinite. His love for you all will be felt from above I promise you this. Today I will continue to honor Basil. He is a survivor, a warrior and an awesome awesome soul. I love you Basil.”
And at 3:35 today, he was given his angel wings.
Stacie & Basil, I will forever be changed for having met you both. I believe that you were brought into my life to teach me the value of my job as a photographer. Stacie, I hope that you will look back on the pictures we were able to capture with love and happiness.
I hope you remember the connection that you and Basil had and continue to have through your two beautiful boys.
I hope you are able to look back on your wedding pictures and remember that special day.
I hope that when you hold a baby picture of Evan in your hand that you are able to smile when you think about the man who helped you create such a special gift.
I hope that when you see pictures of your boys together that you see Basil.
God Bless you Basil. You mean so much to so many people, many of whom you have never met. Rest in peace now …