Being a photographer has its ups and downs I have found throughout my years in the business but for me, it is all about the connection. The connection my clients have to each other and with me. I love that. It is why I named my business Inner Circle Photography and not Miranda Hopkins Photography. I wanted it to be about them yet with me inside their circle capturing all their moments. Whether those moments be happy or sad ones. This is where my logo comes into play.
I photographed Kera’s senior photos in 2007. We had a blast on her property. She was a country girl…hence the tractor, barn, horses, and cornfield being shown in them. It made my heart happy. I had the honor of meeting her a few years prior when I started dating Adam. The Witts were always around. I got to photograph Kera and her family often.
Her oldest sister, Christine had a long fight with breast cancer and I supported her in any way I could. She lost her fight in 2013.
In 2018 when Kera was pregnant with her second child she found out she had melanoma in her neck. They couldn’t do treatment until she delivered. She was so strong. Throughout the years we held fundraisers and a gofundme for her treatment and I was there to capture or share the love surrounding her battle.
In December while at Disney with Nathan, Genna, and Pearl we found our Kera’s dad, Uncle Gary (to us) had passed away. Uncle Gary was Nathan’s godfather and the day after we got back they held a celebration of his life at the Armada Fairgrounds. Kera and Uncle Gary played a big hand in making that fair run.
Kera’s cancer kept spreading and in January Kera’s doctors said there wasn’t anything else they could do for her. Aunt Colleen and Kera didn’t give up. Kera never gave up. Always staying positive and saying it was all alright. She was always so thinking of others. I can’t count the times she said “I’m sorry” to me when there was nothing to be sorry about!
In March she was gifted a surprise family trip to Disney! As soon as I found out I called Aunt Colleen and asked about the dates and said I’m going.
I didn’t ask. (Which may have been rude of me)
I knew I wanted to capture what could/would be their first and last trip to Disney as a family. I think Kera had to talk Drew into it. LOL. The week before the trip Kera had to have 4 liters of fluid taken from her lungs. She didn’t know if the trip was going to happen or not. On Wednesday the week of the trip, I got a text from her in all caps, “WE ARE GOING TO DISNEY, PACK YOUR BAGES MISSY!” It was happening. Kera and Drew got there a day before us with no issues unlike Adam and me who had all the issues. I didn’t care though. Kera wasn’t effective by it. It didn’t matter to us because we were in it for her. We got to Florida a day and a half later than planned. Mike and Sandy got us from the airport. A quick stop at their condo and I was off to Kera’s hotel to meet up with them! We had a great time at the Magic Kingdom. I knew Kera wasn’t going to be able to walk fast and we would need lots of breaks so I planned everything to her speed. It was amazing. I loved watching them on rides and meet princesses. One of my favorite moments was sitting with them while they ate hotdogs. Watching them as a family. We stuck to Main Street, Tomorrow Land, and Fantasy Land. It started raining around 2:30 pm and didn’t stop pouring. We opted to leave for the day. So even though I didn’t “get” what I wanted, I am so pleased with what I did capture. Kera only took one photo that day and it was of Addy and me walking.
She was able to enjoy time with her family and let me do the part of capturing the moments. Adam and I ended up having a whirlwind 24 hours in Orlando. They had a 5 day amazing Disney vacation. When I got the photos to her this was her response, “STOP STOP STOP at being so amazing at your job. I seriously cried looking at all those pictures. I can’t thank you enough. I just keep re looking and they make me smile and laugh and tear up. You got so many pictures that I will be so thankful for, forever. It was perfect and so glad you came. You didn’t have to one bit but omg it save me from having my phone out and not wanting to miss anything.”
This is the part of the job I love. Right there.
Three weeks later Kera lost her fight. This week was her funeral. The funeral home was filled with people who all wanted to hug Drew. What an amazing (short) life she lived. She touches so many people. My heart goes out to Drew and the kids along with her family. They have been through so much. I find peace in my heart knowing my work fills their house and computers. Kera you will be missed.
Here are some photos of Kera throughout the years with Inner Circle Photography.
Thank you for a fun day at the Magic Kingdom and maybe one day I will take your suggestion to be a Disney tour guide and just DO IT.
Much love, Miranda