Teresa Torrens holds and kisses her daughter, Sophie, in this photo taken by True Vine Photography.
Teresa Torrens doesn’t have the words to explain the loss of her 10-week-old daughter.
But she says talking about Sophie helps in the grieving process.
Torrens is grateful she has photographs of her daughter to look at and remember her.
“It pretty much helped me to survive those first days,” she said of photographs taken by local photographer Sandra Welborn after Sophie’s death. “It helped me live through her death.”
Welborn is the area coordinator for the national organization, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, that provides heirloom quality photographs of deceased or dying babies. A network of photographers provides the service free to families.
“Our mission is to produce remembrance photography to parents suffering the loss of a baby,” she said. “We believe these images serve as an important step in family’s healing process by honoring their child’s legacy.”
The services are available for infant loss as early as 25 weeks gestation, or at the discretion of medical personnel. Parents of critically ill or stillborn babies or hospital personnel can contact Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.
Photographers take intimate shots of the family holding the baby, and of the baby’s hands and feet.
“We get to capture the perfect part of that baby,” said Karen Copeland, of Kelly R. Copeland Studios.
Torrens didn’t have any pictures of her daughter, not having a camera; all she had was photos taken with her camera phone.
She thought she had plenty of time to have photos made.
“You think your baby is going to live forever,” Torrens said.
But in those cases when the baby isn’t going to live, there is Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.
Being able to help families who have lost a baby means a lot to the photographers involved.
“I cried a lot when I saw the organization,” Copeland said. “That is what photography is all about is capturing memories, and I think that is the most important memory that can be captured.
“This life is only here for a second, barely for a moment,” she said. “(Parents) need to have that captured.”
Copeland said working with Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep is one of the most important jobs she and her husband, Kelly, have.
Tragically, Torrens lost her baby in a home accident, but she said Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep has helped her in the grieving process.
She is thankful that Welborn, of True Vine Photography, was willing to take the only real pictures of her daughter. Without the pictures, Torrens said she wouldn’t have anything to help her remember her daughter.
“It shows a mother’s love like you would never see in your whole life,” Torrens said of the photographs. “It will make you cry and will make you smile.”
Erin Edgemon can be reached at 869-0812 and at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, visit www.nilmdts.com. If you or someone you know needs this service, call 904-8976 or 848-8909.