The Kaelin Family | Documenting a Grandmother's Love

It is difficult to find the words to write about this session.

Photography can be important in many ways, but for me, and I think for most, what makes it so incredibly valuable - priceless, really - is that that photographs preserve memories. There are many experiences and moments that have long been gone from my memory, but they still exist in photographs. And because of that, those memories will never truly be lost.

Dana reached out to me because her mother is sick. Her mother, her best friend. There is not a lot of time left and Dana’s girls are very young. She wanted some images made that capture just how much her mother loves her grand-babies.

Dana wrote to me that “amongst the sadness and the chaos of this tragic time, I'd love to remember some of the beautiful moments.”.

I did my very best to do that.

Maureen was diagnosed a couple of months ago with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer. If you can, I would appreciate it if you could head over to the website for the American Brain Tumor Association and donate if you can. The link to their website can be found here.

I was so struck by this brave triumvirate of women: Maureen, Dana and spunky Grace (and I am sure baby Rose will be just as strong). And Dana’s husband Brendan seemed to be such a rock for the family. What strength and spirit they have. I was truly moved by the time I spent with them.

I am not sure how to sum up this post. Sometimes life can be really unfair.

All I know is that this experience just solidified for me how important photos are. In the end they are all we will have.

Take pictures. Photograph your family. Get in the frame yourself. Capture the love, capture the mess, capture the mundane. Capture it all. These tangible memories will become your most prized possessions.

Francesca Russell is a documentary-style family photographer and filmmaker located in Garden City South, NY. If you'd like to see more of her recent documentary family photography, head over to her Facebook page or follow her everyday adventures on Instagram. If you are looking for a family photographer or lifestyle videographer on Long Island or in the New York City area to document your family, small business or event, please contact her for more information.