Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017 was much like all the other annual summer photo sessions out on the Dale and Jenny Koos farm just outside of Dubuque. I captured the family of four in their pasture with their cattle grazing in the background. The kids let the chickens out and danced around them as I snapped away. The kids showed me all around the cattle chute and barn they'd built since I was on their farm for their session last summer. We stopped for photos next to the pigs, and swatted the goat away as he photobombed a family shot. We even got a shot of just mom and dad together when the kids ran off after a family shot and Dale jokingly said, "God forbid we'd get a picture of me and mom." The fun- and love-filled session ended with goodbye hugs and Smarties.
This was their last photo session as a family of four. A day and a half later, the 37-year-old father unexpectedly took his final breaths out on the farm he so dearly loved.
Today, my heart is in Iowa while my body feels stuck in Minnesota as services begin for my long-time loyal L. Photogi and friend, Dale Koos.
I began photographing Dale the day he married my childhood neighbor and friend, Jenny Weber. Because I was always invited out to Dale and Jenny's farm for their sessions, I feel like I always got to see Dale in his true element--surrounded not just by the people he loved most, but the place and things he loved most too. He was a loving and helpful father and husband who cherished his farm, animals, Case IH, and trucking--all things I feel so blessed to have been able to capture in photos for them to hold on to.
And back where it all began...
Friends, take photos with those you love--you might never know when it'll be your last photo with or of them. Remember to take photos of just mom and dad, even when the kids are cute enough to steal the whole show. Just take photos. And, always share your smile--you just never know who may need it.
Dale, Rest easy--in a place where the weight of the world is gone, you can smile your great smile, and you can keep watch over the beautiful family you created on Earth. Until we meet again, my friend!
Jenny, All my love to you today, and always! I look forward to wrapping you and the boys in hugs again very soon! Until then, remember to put one foot in front of the other.
All the Webers, I'm thinking of you all and SO wish I could be there today to see and hug each of you. Please know I'm sending all my love from Minnesota.