/ by Jessica Peterson

I am grateful for many things at the moment, mostly friends, family and the tender mercies of God.

Last month I bought my ticket to fly out to Utah on Wednesday the 20th of July to attend and photograph my friend Claire's wedding which was on the 21st.  The morning after I bought the flight I felt like I should change the date and leave for Utah a few days earlier so I could spend some time with friends and my mom, so I moved my flight to the 19th.  That same day my friend Tyler text me and asked if I could photograph his family while I was in Utah, his little brother was coming home from an LDS mission and his entire family would be together that week, it happened to be that Wednesday the 20th worked for us both.  So I flew home on the 19th, spent some time with friends and photographed Tyler and his family on the 20th.  The next day I photographed Claire's wedding, she was so beautiful and it was such an amazing experience to see her marry her best friend.  It was such an up and down day because that afternoon Tyler had been in an accident and passed away.  That evening my friends and I gathered together and cried for the loss of our friend.

In the morning I was asked by Tyler's family to send over pictures taken that week so they could be used for the obituary.  I cried while editing through those images, I cried because Tyler was gone and would not be here on earth to watch his niece and nephew grow but I also cried because I felt the existence of God and I knew how much God loved Tyler.  Tyler was able to be with his entire family on the day he passed away,  he died doing something he loved, surrounded by the people he loved.  

Tyler's viewing and funeral were attended by so many people, it was amazing to see how many lives he had affected, to see how much love one person was able to share.
I feel grateful to have known Tyler,  I feel grateful that I was able to be a part of the last photographs he had with his family.  I am humbled to see how much love God has for us, to see the tender mercies his family was given before he passed.

I am grateful for family and friends.  In the end that all that really matters is our relationships.

At Ty's viewing
The night after the viewing we bought a bunch of fire works to celebrate Tyler,  we hoped that 
he would see them (I think he did).  
the boys all took their shirts off (that is what Tyler would have done)
There was a lot of screaming and a lot of laughing.
there was a lot of down time that week too.  we just really wanted to be around each other.

Make sure you let the people in your life know how much you care for them.  Forgive others, be sweet, be nice and remember what this is all about.  Too much time is spent on the expendable things which are made to seem significant.