I met her when she started dating one of Jake's good friends, watched as they exchanged vows on a warm September day, and ogled over their wedding photos as an amateur photographer just starting out with a brand new website. I was flattered when, a few years later, she asked if I would do their maternity session- the first of what would be a beautiful "pick up where we left off last year" conversation with my camera for eight more years. Her smile was infectious, and if you've ever heard her laugh- you don't forget it. She was unapologetically passionate, loved fiercely, advocated for those around her relentlessly- women in particular.
I had a handful of sessions this year that I promised to honor while I take some time to figure out my own personal next steps. Her name, once again, on my list to message when we returned from vacation. She always wanted November.
Being invited to witness the effortless way she loved her people and being trusted with these moments over the years is something I know is a gift, even though it's tucked away inside my own grief. One day, maybe I'll stop trying so hard to separate the two. That was something she had already figured out.
Thank you for letting me know you and see you, Shari, and for making sure everyone in your orbit knew they were never alone. Rest easy, friend.
To make a donation in Shari's memory: Beauty For Ashes