Wednesday, February 06, 2008

In Memory of Cindy

I am crying as I sit at my computer trying to think of a way to start this blog. Something that will do her justice. Something that will help explain what an amazing person she was and how she touched so many lives. But, I can't think of anything so I will just write from my heart.

I met Cindy nearly two years ago when I was photographing the baptism of the youngest son of the Kim family. She and her boyfriend, at the time, were the God parents of little Ryan. She had such a warm and inviting smile and kept asking if there was anything she could do for me. As I was taking pictures later at the Kim's home, I overheard her talking about her wedding and asked when she was getting married and she said she wasn't engaged yet, but would be soon! Sure enough a couple of months later she was engaged and called me asking if I would shoot her wedding.

3 months before her wedding Cindy was diagnosed with colon cancer. Her prognosis wasn't good, but she kept smiling the whole time. At first they weren't sure if they were going to go on with the wedding, but they did and on May 5 Cindy and Jared were married. It was such a gorgeous and perfect day. All of their friends and family were there to celebrate with them. When Cindy and Jared said their vows it was so much more than just words to them and you could tell.

Cindy fought hard. She went to New York for experimental treatments. She underwent various types of chemo that had horrible side effects. She had to give up teaching, which she loved. And all the while, her emails to me were always optimistic making sure to ask how I was doing and that everything was okay with me.

She was the type of person who would drop everything to help a friend. When I told her how much I loved her dress she wore at her engagement session I received a package in the mail a couple of weeks later with the same dress. When she found out I was pregnant she sent me a beautiful card and gift. She always thought of others first.

I told Cindy several times that she was my hero and she really is. For someone who I knew for such a short time, she had an incredible impact on me. I don't think I would be able to conduct myself with as much grace and composure as Cindy did over the past year. She will always be a role model to me. If I am faced with a challenge as difficult as hers I would hope that I could face it with as much courage and strength as Cindy.

Last night Cindy lost her battle with colon cancer that she fought so bravely for the past year. Life isn't fair for taking someone so beautiful, both inside and out. Someone so generous and compassionate. Someone who gave so selflessly. Someone who was so young and had a lot more life to live.

In one of the last emails I received from Cindy she called me an angel for helping finish her wedding album when she was too sick to do it herself. No Cindy, you are my angel. I know you will watch down on us all and take care of us. There are so many people who wake up this morning with a void in their heart because you are no longer here with us, but we can take comfort in the fact that your legacy will live on through the countless people whose lives you have touched.

This is how I will always remember Cindy. With a big smile on her face.

To Jared and all of Cindy's family and friends, I am so sorry for your loss. You are all in my thoughts.


At 11:54 AM, Blogger Trista said...

oh drew...this is horrible news! I'm trying my best to think of the right words to say but no words seem "right" for when something as tragic as this happens.

Cindy and her husband were so lucky to have you capture the most wonderful day of their lives that they shared together. Your beautiful images will live on in the hearts of her husband and both of their families. Cindy, Jared, and their families are in my prayers.

At 12:03 PM, Blogger Kristina said...

That is awful to hear. I remember viewing her pictures that you posted before. She was too young.

Your beautiful pictures will live on forever for her family. They captured her beautifully. My thoughts are with them today.

At 2:28 PM, Blogger dan schimpf said...

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At 2:31 PM, Blogger nicole green said...

i think what you wrote was perfect. just reading this brought tears to my eyes and she's a complete stranger. you did such a beautiful job with their wedding pictures. i'm sure her family is so grateful that you were there to capture her so beautifully on her wedding day.

At 2:36 PM, Blogger Nataly Lemus said...

Drew, I check your blog regularly and remember when you posted Cindy's wedding. I also remember when you posted about her illness. There are no words that can make it better. My prayers will be with Cindy, her family and friends.

At 3:14 PM, Blogger Jasmine said...

oh, love, i'm so, so sorry for your sadness. i know you truly loved cindy and i'm so pained for her family's loss. i'll be praying for her family, as well as you.

At 4:35 PM, Blogger Photography by Blair said...

I am so terribly sorry for the loss of such an amazing person in your life. It’s always terrible to see such great people pass away when you know there’s no reason something like this should ever happen.
I did not know Cindy, but I am sitting here (at work) wiping tears away from my eyes. Your words truly show how amazing of a lady she really was and always will be. She will live on in all of her friends and family hearts and they will be able to remember how beautiful she was thanks to the fantastic photos that you did for her wedding. What a great (life time) gift you have provided to all of them!
You and Cindy’s family will be in my thoughts and prayers….

At 5:03 PM, Blogger Christine D. said...

Thank you Drew, for being such a wonderful friend to my Aunt Cindy. She was a beautiful and vibrant person, and we are so blessed that you captured those qualities in your wonderful photographs. I went to her house today and saw the amazing wedding album that you helped put together for her. =)

Also, thank you for your words of condolences that you left on my blog.

At 6:59 PM, Blogger Ashley said...

oh that brought tears to my eyes, too. that is too sad for words.

At 7:43 AM, Anonymous Helena Keith said...

Cindy was the godmother of my grandson Ryan and a very close and caring friend of my daughter, Petra who has a huge void inside her now... And yes, I knew Cindy as you've described her, it was during several brief visits to CA. My heart goes out to Jared. What an immensely couragious and loving person he is. Looking after a spouse who's battling cancer needs maximum stamina, physically and emotionally. Jared is a special person in my book. May The Blessings Be. HKK,Bali,Indonesia

At 1:36 PM, Blogger Courteney Miller said...

Wow, that brought tears to my eyes and I didn't even know Cindy! She seemed to be an amzing person with a beautiful spirit! My thoughts and prayers are with this family and with you as you lost a wonderful inspiration in your life but gained a guardian angel to watch over you. God Bless!

At 1:54 PM, Anonymous Polka Dot Bride said...

I'm so sorry...what an awful awful loss

Cindys family are all in my thoughts

At 7:15 PM, Blogger jeniferlouise said...

What a very sad story and I am so sorry. It sounds like she was a very beautiful person and it shows from the beautiful pictures that you took of her. How lucky her family is to have such gorgeous photographs to remember her by.

At 3:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Life can be so terribly sad and seem so dreadfully unfair. And yet in the midst of all the heartache and loss that surrounds those closest and those who experienced a few moments of her life I hear of an amazing legacy that Cindy has left indelibly etched upon the hearts of people like you, Drew.

Thank you for reflecting in words feelings that only a heart filled is able to convey.

I appreciate your words.
I appreciate what you did for such a woman of courage as Cindy,.... even though I know not personally either of you.
David Akesson

At 9:45 AM, Blogger Tira J said...

Hi Drew. I viewed Cindy's wedding slideshow before I finished the post about her loosing her battle with cancer. Cindy did have an infectious smile and I am sure she is smiling down on all of us right now. This is so very sad but know that she is no longer suffering. Her family is very lucky to now have the beautiful wedding images you took to remember her by on her special day. Blessings to you and Cindy's family.

At 12:07 PM, Blogger Ellen Reinis said...

I read your blog every few weeks and just saw this posting today. I was tearing when I read it and then went back into your archive to look at their wedding pics - so sweet! How lucky they were to have eachother for the time that they did and how lucky for you to have met them. Makes me think of how LUCKY I am to have every day that I do! Thank you for sharing this story.

At 1:51 AM, Blogger Drew Watts said...

Lovely share! Reading it really made me emotional to the core. You have to be positive to achieve whatever you want. Got to know about event locations from my friends also. Booking one for my cousin's baby shower will be a cute gesture for her. Decorations and invites will be DIY and dinner can be buffet one to avoid chaos.


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