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Prayers for Samuel

Rewind to about 9 years ago…

I was a new mom needing a little guidance and friends I could relate to. I joined a mom group at our church, and for that season of my life, the girls at my table became my tribe. We were notorious for getting off topic… conversations ranging from motherhood, marriage, personal struggles, and of course plenty of laughter at silly life stories. We met up for dinners, went to kids’ birthday parties… you get the idea. These women were honest, real, and serious superwomen I admired. One of those moms happened to be my sweet friend Susan. In my mind, she was already a veteran at this motherhood thing. At this point, she had three little ones and was pregnant with their fourth. I went to her often with newbie mom questions, and she was always so patient and gracious. When I began to build my photography portfolio eight years ago, her family was my very first session. As life typically goes, we all eventually went in different directions but kept up through Facebook. Back in November, Susan and Brent found out their oldest, Samuel, has cancer. The prognosis wasn’t great, which is of course always heartbreaking to hear, but especially when they’re still a child. Soon, hundreds of people across the area were lifting up prayers for Samuel, hoping for some sort of miracle.

Samuel | Charlotte NC family photographer

This is one of those situations that had me at a loss with how to help or what to do. We live about an hour away from each other, so the typical day to day things weren’t going to work. It didn’t take me long to realize that the only professional photos they had were from our time together years ago (which let’s face it, we’re using the term “professional” loosely here, lol). They had since had more kids, so it was way past time for an updated family portrait. That same day, a mutual friend of ours… a mom from our original group… contacted me, asking to hire me to do photos for Samuel and the family. Clearly a God thing. I of course told her absolutely not, this was going to be a gift from me.

Samuel | Charlotte NC family photographerSamuel | Charlotte NC family photographerSamuel | Charlotte NC family photographer

Back in January, we met up to take an updated family portrait. A few things have obviously changed since we last saw each other, including a couple extra cute faces. But Brent and Susan are just as wonderful and a couple to truly admire as they walk a tough road with an incredible amount of grace, faith, and hope. It was very bittersweet, as I was so happy to catch up and see them again, but with the sobering thought that this would likely be his last professional portrait. We met and took photos at the very church where we became friends.

Samuel | Charlotte NC family photographerSamuel | Charlotte NC family photographerSamuel | Charlotte NC family photographerSamuel | Charlotte NC family photographerSamuel | Charlotte NC family photographerSamuel | Charlotte NC family photographer

And because y’all know how much I believe in having a tangible piece of art, I made sure they had something to hang and enjoy daily.

Samuel actually had been doing relatively well, even began walking again. Unfortunately, in the last couple of days, he took a drastic downward turn. He’s currently in the hospital, and it’s understood that he’s headed to see Jesus soon. Susan and Brent are living every parent’s worst nightmare. My momma heart is torn into pieces for them. Please keep them in your prayers, as I know they appreciate it. If you would like to leave some words of encouragement or let them know you’re praying for them, Samuel’s CaringBridge can be found here. 

Update (7/24)…

Samuel went to meet Jesus this morning. While we’re obviously glad he’s no longer suffering, we’re incredibly heartbroken for their family. If you would like to help them in a tangible way, a GoFundMe was set up by a friend to help with medical costs and funeral arrangements. Thanks for all the support and love you guys sent their way.

Samuel’s GoFundMe

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  • Brandi Crisco

    Praying for your family ! If your a friend of Hailey’s your a friend of mine ❤️ReplyCancel

  • Susan Cail

    Thank you Hailey!! I will cherish the photos forever. So blessed by you.ReplyCancel

  • Susan Cail

    Thank you Hailey for sharing this. You are an amazing friend and I’m so thankful for you.ReplyCancel

  • Yarby Williams

    Absolutely beautiful work! Thank you so very much for this treasure!  I have looked at these pictures numerous times since I saw this last night. As a grandmother I am so proud in the Lord of this beautiful family and so blessed by your gift to them! Each time I go into their home and see the beautiful family picture on the wall my heart is warmed.ReplyCancel