Santa Barbara Healing Family Session

We don’t always know why things happen in life. Whether it’s to oneself, a loved one, an acquaintance, or someone you don’t even know all that well, watching people experience a tragedy pulls on the heartstrings. I know I don’t like to see others struggle and want to help however I can. Having been through a traumatic loss myself, something deep within me longs to ease other’s suffering. To bring some light to a hard time.

This summer Santa Barbara had a wildfire. It was small- but devastating. I remember the night. The heat, smelling the smoke, worrying that the 50+ mph winds could send burning embers our way. The fire was a mile from our house. We had a 3 month old breathing in the nasty air. It was 90 degrees in our house at 9pm. The fans were doing nothing. Then we lost power and we didn’t even those fans now. It was time to leave. Off to LA we went, praying for those who were even closer to the fire and the first responders.

In the morning I read about the Durtchi family. They had moved to Santa Barbara just two weeks before the fire from Utah. And they lost everything. Cassandra had introduced herself in Church just the week before. I wanted to say hello and welcome her that day, but the line to meet her was long, and I had an upset baby. So here was this family who was experiencing something unimaginable. And I knew I wanted to help. But goodness I didn’t know how. How do you help people you don’t know go through something you’ve never experienced?

The past months have been amazing to watch on the sidelines. Our church and community rallied behind the family. It was beautiful and Cassandra is so eloquent and speaks her heart beautifully. Watching their faith has been inspiring. I know that doesn’t mean it has been easy. I know the healing process will take a very long time.

I wondered how little me could help them. Then I realized- they lost family photos. I’m sure they’ve been able to recover some digitally. But prints were gone. Maybe some photos forever. So I offered my talents for it’s really all I have to give.

This session was an honor to be a part of. This is a strong family made stronger. The night was stormy but it made for a beautiful analogy. See, stormy, windy skies always bring the best sunsets. The sky is the most dynamic. The clouds are more dramatic. And it really made me think about how the storms of life seem dark, but they also bring beauty. They bring change. They bring growth. The wind may be frigid, but the product is worth the trial. The night may seem never ending but the changes to ones’ soul are everlasting.

And then there’s the rainbow. The literal and figurative rainbow. My heart jumped as walked the bluffs to see a rainbow and I pointed it out to Cassandra. She squealed as she told me that rainbows are their family ‘thing’. How fitting that this session which was to bring healing went full circle all in one night. We had the storm. The wind. But simultaneously we had the rainbow. The beautiful sky. And they had each other through it all.

Thank you, Durtchi family, for letting me spend the evening with you <3