I have two best friends in this life and I couldn’t imagine my life without either one of them. Lisa and Leslie (aka Bitzy), you two have been by my side through many highs and lows… I have no greater cheerleaders than these two friends. My two BFF’s lost the most special people in their lives only two weeks apart. My heart has been so heavy knowing all too well the pain of losing such a special grandparent. Bitzy, the name I’ve called her since the day we met when we were 2 years old, called me up a few weeks back and said, “Grandma isn’t doing well…” I asked how long she had and through tears she said, “not much. only days.” This came as a surprise to everyone. She was a spitfire, and honestly, I don’t think I saw her grow old… she will always be the sweet Grandma who had me over to the house all the time as a child & treated me as one of her very own grandchildren. She was always going to be 65 in my eyes and baking up something good in the kitchen. But time does pass and we all grow older, even if we don’t see it coming. When I got the call from Bitzy, I didn’t know what to do… I didn’t want her to lose her oh-so-special Grandma. All I could ask was, “Do you want me to come and take pictures of you with her?” It’s all I could offer and I wasn’t sure if she would want them. She told me it would mean the world to her, so the next morning, I drove over to her Grandma’s house and met the family there. I just stood back and watched the love pour out over this woman. So many tears and laughs were shared over the amazing memories she created for her family. I only spent a couple of hours with them and as I packed up my things and started to say goodbye, it was then that Bitzy said through her tears to everyone in the room, “She’s gone.” I didn’t anticipate being there when she passed. In fact, I really wanted Colleen’s last hours/moments to be with her husband, children and grandchildren. But she left this world. And even though my cameras were packed away, it was at this time that I saw so much love fill that room. Love for Grandpa, love for Grandma and love for each other. It’s quite a miracle to be on the outside of things and witness such love. I mentioned after posting the image to Instagram, that I see the true & full depth of love at two times in life… birth and death. And both of these, I document through imagery… I think its why I’m so drawn to these moments… its the love. It’s love that cannot be described with any amount of words.

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Oh… where do I begin? From the very first time I met Lisa in 2009, I heard about Johnny… Johnny was her most favorite person in the entire world. He’s one of the largest reasons she chose to move her business from the cities down to the Marshall area (much to my protest and dismay). And it is his love story with his wife, Lisa’s grandmother, that inspired the name and legacy behind Lisa’s business, Johnny and Dottie. This man (along with Deb, Lisa’s mom who also makes an appearance in the images below) raised Lisa and her siblings and took care of every person who ever came to his door, without question, every single time. I got to spend an entire day with Lisa and Johnny back in December. The day was meant to be just about all the best memories Johnny has built for Lisa. They spent the day sharing stories over coffee, baking a pie, dancing in the kitchen to their favorite artist, and just being together. I did the best I could capturing their stories… this was something I wanted Lisa to have more than anything… I left feeling like there was still more, but I soon realized its because there is no way to capture all who Johnny was – he will always be so much more to Lisa, her mom, and her children than I could ever try to understand. It’s the way I feel about losing my own grandmother (the woman behind my business name)… the relationship and love that we have for our grandparents is something only we can feel deep inside us. I did fall in love with Grandpa Johnny when he insisted on dancing with me in the kitchen that day. It’s a memory I will hold close to my heart for a very long time. I hope that these images and memories will be ones that Lisa forever holds tight in her heart. This man will be missed so much!

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At 9pm she said, “I think my water just broke!” By midnight, Cara & Mike were at Fairview Ridges Hospital and I was on my way, too. Normally, I would wait till I get some updates about how mom is progressing, but something told me that I should just head out before getting any updates. Its a good thing I did! When I arrived at the hospital, they were prepping the room for sweet baby’s arrival! Beautiful little Paige made her entrance only minutes later. I love dad’s expression when he first sees Paige! Congratulations Mike & Cara – I’m so happy for you!

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They’re having twins! My job that day was to pick up coordinating paint colors for each baby and enough for Mom, Dad, Brother & Sister. I wrapped the bottles in tape (a much harder task that it seems it would be) and then this happened…

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  • Megan - February 21, 2014 - 7:30 pm

    This is amazing. Big sister with the stink eye is stellar, did she want a sister and not know yet?! What fun! Congrats to them!!

I love happy endings :). Sara and I met when I worked at the hospital in the ER and became fast friends. She and I shared similar stories, that only those who have struggled with understand the truly heart-wrenching pain, of infertility. But her and Deane’s story ended like ours… with a miracle baby! Emmett was their last chance and hope of having a child of their own. After years and years of treatments, this last chance was the only one that mattered… and one giant miracle happened… Sara was expecting! I bawled like a baby behind my camera when I stood next to Deane and Sara – in our itty-bitty designated space in the operating room – and Deane got to announce that they just had a baby boy! The last minute c-section was unexpected for all, but it all turned out and I was so happy when I found out that the the anesthesiologist and (in my biased opinion) the best doc in the world (also our doc!) would allow me in the operating room with them! Emmett was born 3 weeks early and only weighed in at 5 lbs 2 oz, so he needed to spend a little time in the level 2 nursery to be monitored. Since Sara wasn’t able to go in the nursery until she could walk on her own (which takes hours after the spinal), I documented Emmett’s first hour of life so she would always have these images to tell his story. I love how Deane took pictures on his cell phone so that he could run back to the room to show Sara. Sara’s mom was allowed in the nursery, but that was it for visitors that first night. I bawled again as I was saying my goodbyes to Sara and Deane and heard Sara on the phone telling her dad that he was a Grandpa to a perfect little boy. Oh so much love… so much love for this sweet boy they waited so long for!

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  • Jenny - March 4, 2014 - 4:16 pm

    Tasha- you’re pictures are so absolutely amazing. I am sitting here at work with tears rolling down my face as I read your blog. You truly have such a talent – I have never seen anything so special before. Don’t ever give it up!
    Every photo you take shows all the love you have for life.

    Love, Jen

  • Allison Casper - July 15, 2014 - 12:36 am

    Sara is one of my oldest and dearest friends. She has been with me through thick and thin including my wedding, the birth of my daughter, divorce and remarriage. It broke my heart to see the struggles her and Deane had with fertility as I knew Sara and Deane would be phenomenal, loving parents. The birth of Emmett was thrilling to say the least. Being able to see these beautiful pictures is awesome. I am so glad that Sara, Deane and Emmett will forever have these precious moments captured to look at for years to come. You did a beautiful job!! Thank you.