I have known this family longer than pretty much anyone I know outside of my own relatives. They were my second family growing up and most of my memories somehow involve being at their house, being carted around in their mini-van with the fake wood panels, and being treated like the extra child in the family.
I have photographed them for several years but this year was different. Someone was missing this time. Not just someone. The one that supported each one of the people in these pictures and loved them wholeheartedly. The one that had no greater love than being with these people. The one with a laugh I can still hear in my head and a voice I can still imagine. There was no one quite like her.
She was given a gift card for another round of family pictures for this year and it pains me so much that she is not in these photos. I know how deeply she loved her family, her friends, and how she touched so many of our lives. She was an example to us of how to love your people well and I know her legacy now lives on through her family.
We miss you, Pat.