I had the honor of photographing a beautiful “Celebration of Life” surprise party this past weekend. Ever since the wonderful ladies at Seize the Day Event Planning contacted me about shooting this event, my mind started turning about the concept of honoring the people we love while they are still with us. Gil is a Vietnam Veteran in addition to being a father, friend, boss, and grandfather. He was the most highly decorated helicopter pilot in Colorado and was the chief of flight standards. He did two tours of Vietnam and was in charge of “Agent Orange”. He was shot down numerous times whilst in Vietnam being the chief of helicopters. When he returned from Vietnam he suffered from PTSD and his health has declined. Despite this, he started his own successful furniture company. He has overcome so many obstacles and it is clear that he is a true fighter and that none of the challenges life dealt him ever crushed his spirit. His daughter Chanelle decided to throw him a Celebration of Life party as a reunion where friends and family could share stories of how Gil made an impact on their lives. It was so evident how loved and respected that he is, and so incredibly cool to see all of the laughter mixed in with the tears.
At the end of the evening, Gil’s grandson asked his mom what her favorite part of the whole evening was. Chanelle’s response was “when I got to hold my dad’s hand during the speeches”. It was so special to see the connection that Chanelle and Gil have. I hope that anyone seeing this post is as inspired as I am to make sure that the people you love and admire know it. Do it today, we never know what tomorrow will hold. –Jo
Thanks again to all of the incredible vendors who made the event so perfect!
Planners: Honey, Karla, Sarah, and Yemaya with Seize the Day Event Planning
Venue: Willow Ridge Manor
Flowers: Bella Calla
Catering: Catering By Design
Music: A Lyrics Ensemble