A Military Homecoming is not an ordinary session.
The gasp of joy Bailey let out when she saw her husband after months apart. After so many months away from his wife and their daughter. Months spent in a war-torn country, in the center of a debilitating tragedy, fear and conflict only a moment away at all time. Precious time spent away from his wife, daughter, and his absolutely wonderful parents.
That sound of relief she made when she saw him, it will stay with me forever. In just that one moment, my heart was both shattered and healed.
This Military Homecoming Reunion session for Sgt. Gonzales and his beautiful family was truly an honor to attend and capture. They were all waiting for him to come home. Meanwhile, His parents came in from another state, his wife got ready at lightning speed, his daughter became BFF’s with the photographer (that’d be me!) and then, the wait was on.
…To say I cried would be an understatement…
Let’s start with the fact that the word, “strong” falls short of how i’d describe the incredible Bailey. During this military homecoming session I was able to learn quite a bit about her. She’s a wife to a Marine, mother to their beautiful girl, she’s been by his side for the last three out of his four deployments (which took place before they met). She’s always there with love, kindness, and to support him as he serves and protects all of us.
Friend, have you ever had an experience so intensely meaningful, fragile, and beautiful that every time you reflect upon it, you end up in tears? Even though this was not my moment, even if we had only just met, even if I was only there to document their day, it’s left a lasting impression on my heart. Days later as I type this post, I find myself in tears from the magic of this moment.
This is the military homecoming reunion of Marine Sgt. Gonzales and his family…
This is the story of pain, joy, fear, and excitement. Moments like these are why we honor our military and their families. Not just on Veterans Day or any other specific day of the year but every. single. day.
The grace of a young wife, waiting for her husband to come home from a war-torn country, the third time she’s awaited his return. The courage and honor of a man that is serving his country and building a life for his family. Well, it was just my privilege to serve them this time. This military homecoming session was a blessing.
Finally, my message to the family.
Bailey, A. and D.,
Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart for entrusting me to document such a profound moment for you. The weight of this responsibility was not lost on me. I am honored to have delivered these images that mean so much to you and that you love so much.
I know it was so difficult with all of the changes to the date and time of this reunion and it was long overdue but I am honored to have been there for you. As I told you through tears on the date of the homecoming, since we spoke on the phone and you booked me, I have prayed for your family so much and you’ve all been in my heart! You will continue to be in my heart and prayers.
Wishing you the absolute best in all of your future adventures!
“How to be brave?
How can I love when I’m afraid to fall?
But watching you stand alone
All of my doubt suddenly goes away somehow…”
“The word, “strong” falls short of how i’d describe her”
“… I have died every day waiting for you
Darling don’t be afraid
I have loved you for a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more… And all along I believed I would find you
Time has brought your heart to me
I have loved you for a thousand years
I’ll love you for a thousand more…”
Military Homecoming Reunion
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