A few months ago I got a very upsetting phone call from the sister of one of my favorite clients. She was calling from her home in Canada. I knew by the way she said my name that something was wrong. Within the first sentence or two she told me that Rose Marie, her oldest sister, has passed away. I gasped and covered my mouth in shock. Rose Marie is young and healthy, I was thinking, a tiny little woman with a huge smile and a big BIG heart. What could have happened, I couldn’t imagine.
Her sister told me that she had a massive heart attack at age 55 (I believe), and her life ended in an instant. There was no warnings, no signs. She then told me that since the funeral, she could not stop thinking about ME! She said, that since meeting me, her sister had absolutely INSISTED that she and her three adult boys have a family portrait made. She would not take no for an answer. Her photo shoot was in Miami and directed by my father, Dave Little. Rose Marie later told me that my dad had made the photo shoot so fun, that at dinner later that night, the boys suggested to their mom that they get together once a week for dinner and to enjoy each others company. I remember her telling me this story when she was ordering her portraits from that photo shoot later in the month. She was very proud that the experience had brought her family closer.
I told my dad the story and it touched him. Those are the type of rewards we work for. A year passed, and I got another call from Rose Marie. This time all of her siblings were going to be visiting for a holiday and she wanted a 3 generation family portrait, including her aging parents and 5 brothers and sisters. On the morning of the shoot, a few of the family members backed out for reasons that were not shared with me. But Rose Marie brought the siblings who were willing and we went ahead with the shoot. I remembered, that we laughed a lot during that shoot. She was happy to be spending that time with her sisters.
As I’m remembering all of this in a flash, while on the phone with her sister in Canada, she tells me that during the funeral all of our portraits were on display. During the weeks following, they were a main topic of conversation. She said, they were a great source of comfort to everyone, but especially her 3 boys and her sisters. They felt her presence in the pictures and they could remember her in a truely happy state.
Her sister had called to thank me. And although it made my heart swell that something my family did could bring so much comfort to another family in a time of need, I still feel crushed by the loss as I sit here in tears months later telling you the story. I will never forget Rose Marie and her gentle loving spirit. Please enjoy her images.
In Loving Memory of Rose Marie Wong