We met just two years ago but this wonderful little boy and his family quickly carved out a place in my heart. Nathan was born with “Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome” which essentially means he was functioning with half a heart. When he was mere days old he had the first of several open heart surgeries.
As a photographer with the Littlest Heroes organization I met these wonderful people when I went to their home to capture family portraits for them. When then eighteen-month-old Nathan first saw me coming through the door with my big, black camera bag, he hid shyly behind his mother. He thought I was yet another visiting nurse come to subject him to more needles, treatments and examinations.
So, together we sat on the floor and examined the contents of my bag – cameras, lenses, a flash unit and so on. Once that mystery had been solved Nathan was more than happy to play with me and let me shoot endless numbers of photos of him and his family.
And in minutes I had fallen in love with this beautiful, happy, charming and loving child.
Nathan’s whole family, mother, father, grandparents adored this little hero who so bravely withstood all of the medical treatments and medications he needed just to get through each day. Every day that he woke up and smiled was a blessing indeed.
And smile he did, ensnaring the hearts of all who met him. At three he was still a little charmer, adored by his parents, family, friends and all who met him.
And then his parents gave him another gift of love; a little sister, Jenna.
Once again I had the privilege of capturing more cherished memories for this family, now a group of four.
This handsome little hero had more challenges in his short life than could ever be considered fair, and yet he kept laughing, giggling and loving as only a special little boy could do.
Last week he returned to the IWK for yet another surgery. With a heavy heart and tears on my cheeks I read a short entry on Facebook this morning from Nathan’s mother Sue. With what must have been a herculean effort for her, she wrote that she, “is absolutely 100% completely heartbroken. Fly high little man. ♥”
Nathan lost the battle this time and gained his angel wings.
My thoughts and prayers go out to Susan, Todd, Jenna and their family and friends. There are no words to heal the hole left in everyone’s hearts and lives by the loss of a true little hero.
Farewell Nathan. You will be missed.