in memory.

This is hard to write.

Driving home from this session last fall, I was grinning from ear to ear. I absolutely could not wait to see the moments we had captured on camera. When I actually sat down to flip through the images on the computer, I couldn’t stop. I had to edit the whole set then and there. I was so eager to show mom how vibrant, how positive, how loving, how beautiful her family was (as if she didn’t already know).

Looking at those pictures again now, I would never, never have imagined even for a second that something was so tragically wrong.

A few weeks after their session, I got a call from Stephanie’s sister in tears letting me know that this seemingly healthy, loving, strong father that we see right here had been diagnosed with melanoma. And it didn’t look good.

This is hard to write.

In spite of many pleas and prayers for a full recovery, Dana recently lost his very short battle with cancer.

This family’s faith and courage throughout this whole ordeal humbles me and inspires me and reminds me that nothing is more precious than the time we get to spend with the people we love. Dana was supposed to be treated at the Mary Crowley Cancer Research Center. If you’re so inspired, maybe you could give thanks for the blessings in your life by making a small donation, and in turn, honor the memory of a father and a husband who was very loved and will be very missed.

29 Responses to “ in memory. ”

  1. Caitlin Says:

    My prayers and condolences are with this family…

  2. Adore Amore Says:

    Please extend my prayers and the best blessings to this beautiful family.

  3. Kathleen Porter Says:

    This is very sad. He is very young! My thoughts are with his family.

  4. Ursula Says:

    So sad…my prayers are with this family

  5. Amy C Says:

    Wow! How tragic! I’ll keep them in my prayers.

  6. Scott Stater Says:


  7. Sarah pratt Says:

    I hate that we have both had to write similar posts this week. It’s just not fair and I don’t understand his such sad things can happen to such good people. My prayers are with Dana’s family and with you, Michele. Hugs!

  8. Rhonda Steed Says:

    aw that poor family! My heart goes out to them!

  9. Kristi Says:

    what a remarkably strong woman she must be……..I am certain both she and the three beautiful kids will always cherish the moments you captured for them. May their faith keep them strong

  10. Melissa Says:

    Poor family! My heart goes out to them. Our family has been touched by cancer as well and its a terrible ordeal, especially for one who was seemingly healthy. I was just thinking today that one of the things I love most about being a photographer is giving the gift of a visual memory for someone to cherish. When a family member passes away the photographs are what many people cling onto the longest as their memento. I am sure his wife will treasure this photo forever.

  11. michelle nicoloff Says:

    Oh Michele…that is terribly sad! My prayers are with the family.

  12. bir Says:

    :( Very sad for that poor family right now. I will be thinking of them alot in coming times..

  13. Lauren Says:

    I’m absolutely heartbroken for this family. So terribly sad! Just really makes you appreciate every second we have on this earth with our family. And this is another justification of how important your job is Michelle! This family will have these images for a lifetime. And they are PRICELESS! No amount of money would cover these cherished images. My prayers are with this family.

  14. Darla Says:

    God bless their precious family…

  15. Gillian Says:

    This is too devastatiing for words. I’m heartbroken for this family. There are never enough words. Never. I’m so so sorry…

  16. Stacy McPeek-Smith Says:

    Very sad news. My heart goes out to this young family. And what a amazing gift you gave them… I looked at the session and WOW! You are incredible and they will have those forever! xx

  17. Ceci Says:

    My prayers go out to this family. What a blessing that they have this session to look back on. God couldn’t have picked their session at a more perfect time.

  18. Stacy Says:

    So sorry for your loss. My prayers are with the family! What a blessing to have such cherished memories of happier times.

  19. erin Says:

    oh my goodness! i just went and looked at the session.. you captured so many beautiful, happy, smiling, wonderful memories for them! like someone else said, what a blessing that they have these amazing moments captured on film. i just said a prayer for their family… thank you for sharing their story.

  20. Mariah Milan Says:

    Can’t find the right words…. deepest sympathy to the family. Cancer is such a horrible thing – I pray for the day that a cure will be found. God Bless their family!

  21. Kristen Says:

    Many prayers for the family. Your photos will be cherished much as their loving father.

  22. stacey Says:

    Okay, this just makes me weep for this precious family. My prayers are with them. How wonderful for them to have these photographic memories to capture the spirit of their family and their father/husband. Thanks for sharing.

  23. Luanne Says:

    My thoughts and prayers go out to this family.

  24. anya Says:

    oh Michele, my heart just aches for them…….what a beautiful family.

  25. Julie Says:

    So very sorry for their loss. You can see the love they have for each other in the images you captured. Pictures are so important as we go through the grieving process. I’m glad they have these. Praying for them.

  26. Michelle Sidles Says:

    My prayers and sincerest condolences go to this family. {{prayers}}

  27. Tabitha Says:


    I absolutely loved these pics from the time I first saw them on Steph’s Facebook. You captured so well the vitality and energy of this beautiful family. They are all the more meaningful and precious due to the circumstances. You have a gift. These photos of Dana and family will long be treasured by those of us who loved him. Thank you for sharing your gift with us.

    God’s blessings,

  28. Elle Says:

    So so sad. :( Praying for this family. What a wonderful moment in time you captured that they will cherish forever. You are truly gifted at capturing the essence of families!

  29. amber Says:

    i am a little late reading this post…and oh my….how horrible. my heart aches for them. what a beautiful family. this is pure reassurance of why we take photos: to document and capture the joy in their moments. you absolutely are not guaranteed of another day. my prayers will be lifted up for them, as i know the months to come will be difficult.

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