Valentine's Day | Living Your Vows | John & Kelly

The Story

Get your tissues ready ...

This Valentine's Day I wanted to focus on the real, genuine, authentic, not-always-easy love. The type of love that requires sacrifice, compassion, understanding & communication.  The truest, most vulnerable, honest to the core kind of love. 

Meet my friends John & Kelly:  ( http://www.parent.co/finding-joy-in-the-face-of-cancer/)

"It was Friday, February 26 at about 7:30 in the evening. My nine-month-old son was fast asleep in his nursery and I was lying in my four-year-old son’s bed watching his eyelids grow heavy, his long eyelashes brushing the top of his cheeks as he drifted off to sleep.

Typically, I like to wait a few minutes before leaving his room, partially to make sure he doesn’t wake up the moment I stir and partially because I just love watching him sleep. After a day of using up every ounce of energy in his body, witnessing him surrender to exhaustion has become a favorite mom moment.

Tonight as he drifted off, our dog began barking. I appreciate this habit for its protective instincts, and I also loathe its ability to wake sleeping children – usually over a passing bicycle or a much smaller dog. I sneaked out of my son’s room to see what had the dog so worked up. To my delight, I found one of my dearest friends standing on the front porch.

When you have young children, surprise visits from friends are about as frequent as days free of temper tantrums. I eagerly opened the door. “What are you doing here?”

The picture of composure, she responded, “I’m here to sit with you while you call John.” I stared at her. Utterly frozen in trying to process her words, complete thoughts evaded me. Instead I was left with – John.

Husband. Headaches. MRI…brain tumor. These moments, these life-changing moments, they really do happen the way you see it in the movies.

I think I managed to say “Oh my god” before slowly sinking to the floor – though there was a chair within arm’s reach I could have sat in. When you realize that your 36-year-old husband, the father of your two young sons and the man you love with all your heart, has just been told he has a brain tumor, chairs don’t feel stable enough. The ground is the only place to go.

Of course I knew John had had an MRI that afternoon. His recent onset of migraine-like headaches had led us to schedule an appointment with a Neurologist, who ordered the MRI as a routine measure. I didn’t go with him that day because, quite frankly, neither of us thought I needed to be there. He would be in and out, and we would hear the results the following week.

But when you have a tumor the size of a grapefruit in the front left lobe of your brain, that’s not exactly how MRIs go. My husband had just finished tying his shoes when the technician came in the room, phone in hand, and said, “Your Doctor wants to talk to you.” The next words he heard were, ”You have a large tumor in your brain, and you need to go to the Emergency Room, immediately.”

It’s almost too overwhelming to put myself in his position upon hearing such news. But my husband, being the incredible partner he is, was able to put himself in my position. The moment he heard his life had taken a very sharp turn, he thought about me, home with our two sleeping boys, and he called a trusted friend to be with me as I heard the news.

If there were ever an example of how I know for sure that I married the right person, this is it."

John & Kelly are the type of people you love spending time with.  They're funny & real.  Genuine & authentic.  Kind & approachable.  They're human.  They call life as it is rather than putting up a front & pretending things are better or easier than they truly are.  And somehow rather than becoming jaded or pessimistic in the midst of this blatant honesty, they manage to maintain an incredible perspective on life by remaining hopeful & thankful.

Please take a moment to read Kelly's feature on Scary Mommy:

http://www.scarymommy.com/spouse-has-cancer/

It was this post that inspired me to put this shoot together to celebrate their "in sickness" kind of love.  I hope that this Valentine's Day we're all able to in some way be grateful for the life we're given & “To remember, that no matter what we encounter, the love we share is the most important thing in our lives.”

The Details

Photographer:  Tiffany Gentry {Tiffany J Photography}

Shoot Location:  Rowan Lofts, Downtown Los Angeles

Wardrobe: Free People, Rag & Bone, BCBG, Bruno Magli, Steel & Jelly

The Images