Fine Art Portrait and Destination Wedding Photographer


Stephanie Renae Photography’s most recent work

A Wedding and a Funeral

This is a bit of a personal post so I apologize in advance for not featuring any of my work. Things as of late have been tumultuous and chaotic.

May 12th my littlest sister became a missus, and the ceremony was absolutely wonderful. I am the oldest of four siblings and we are an extremely close family. To be able to celebrate her (finally!) tying the knot was so beautiful.

She broke her arm on her honeymoon slipping on a rock. Yes, we definitely made fun of her for it as every self-respecting sibling must do.

My parents moved out of our childhood home down to the beach near SLO. My brother insisted they were finally moving out of "his" house as he would be renting it. And boy howdy, he had plans. It was going to be a nerdy bachelor pad and we were all looking forward to it.

May 19th I got a call from an unknown number. I didn't answer it, got a horrible feeling and checked the voicemail. It was the hospital calling about my brother. I called them right back and then sped off. He was in a motorcycle accident.

The details are a little too painful to retell, but he started doing ok after a very scary and life-altering list of injuries and then suddenly was not. He got a lung infection and his body went septic. Acute respiratory failure as well as complete organ failure. As a family we had to decide what to do but fortunately for us my brother had always talked nonchalantly about his death and what he would want. No machines. Cremation. Spread his ashes in the mountains.

With heavy hearts my family stood around his bed as they weaned him off of the medications keeping him alive. They turned off his monitors and sat outside watching his SATs so our family could process alone with him. We listened to his favorite music and were all holding onto him as the nurse came in to inform us he had passed.

I am hurting. My family is hurting. There are days I do not feel strong enough to get through it. He was not only my brother but one of my best friends and I'm hoping and praying that I can just trudge past this and not be too marred on the back end.

I love you buddy. Very much. I'll see you on the flip side.

John Paul Benbow