The Hunter Family: A Tribute to Kingsley, River, & Sawyer

September 24, 2014  •  2 Comments

I have sat down to write this post many many times. I have written pages and then deleted, I have sat and blankly stared at an empty word document, I have written sentences over and over tweaking a word here or there to try to make this post as perfect as it deserves to be. This is a post unlike any other that I have written. This blog tends to be filled with pictures of the happiest moments, energetic toddlers, and growing families. Typically this is a blog of very few words:


This post is about two parents and their three sons. It is about life changing in an instant. It is about grief.  It is about the ability to some how carry on: 

Early this summer I read a post on Facebook about a classmate from high school that was pregnant with triplets (conceived naturally)! I contacted Jocelyn, the mom, begging her to let me take maternity and newborn photos for them.  We spent a couple hours together one morning in July. Jocelyn and Sean were really great; so happy, kind, & genuine. They are one of the cutest couples I have ever been around. Their connection was obvious and they felt awkward in front of my camera... it was adorable.

A few days before our session they found out the gender of their children and we set out to snap a photo that they could use to reveal to their family and friends. 3 sons. 

All seemed well that morning. Jocelyn was comfortable, glowing, happy, and healthy. Sean was attentive, loving, calm, & helpful. Only, a few days later, labor tragically began at only 20 weeks gestation. I received a message from Jocelyn’s mom. She informed me that the babies were born and all three of her grandsons were now in heaven. Jocelyn and Sean requested privacy as their grief began but a few weeks later they invited the rest of us to mourn with them as they shared a couple intimate photos of their short time with their babies: Kingsley, Sawyer, and River. 

Hospital photos by: Peter Lopez

I barely know this family but the sorrow lingers. It doesn’t make sense & it certainly isn’t fair. 

Jocelyn frequently writes about their boys, their loss, and their faith. She communicates how she wants to be treated, things she needs to hear, and how to acknowledge her grief. It is a blessing for all around them to be taught how to properly support this mom and dad as well as anyone that is grieving. Her messages inspired me to (with their permission) share their story as well. We all have a lot we can learn from this couple.  


Sean & Jocelyn,

I have sat to write this post so many times and I have come up with nothing. I have no words that are capable of healing your pain and there is no gift that can fill your gaping wound. The only things I have to offer are these photos of when your family was complete (on earth), frequent thoughts and tears, and remembering Kingsley, Sawyer, and River and in their honor, volunteering to photograph families that are experiencing loss similar to yours.


“I have learned that grief, like a pot of soup, changes the longer it simmers and the more things you put in to it. I’ve learned that sometimes people say unkind things, but they really don’t mean to hurt you.

And most importantly, I’ve learned that there is something down deep within all of us ready to help us survive the things we think we can’t survive.”

                                                -Tear Soup






2.Elizabeth McDonnell(non-registered)
Beautiful tribute. Inspiring couple.
1.Sawyer, River & Kingsley's Mima~(non-registered)
Dear Kelsey~ Thank you for taking the most BEAUTIFUL photos of The Hunter Family of 5~ It is said that a picture speaks a thousand words! Your full of beauty pictures, speaks volumes of LOVE <3 The Love Sean & Jocelyn have for one another <3 The Love Sean & Jocelyn have for their 3 boys <3 These photos touch deeply into the hearts of all of Us who Love this precious Family <3 You are right Kelsey, words in print, can not express the Love & Sorrow , the sacred dance of grief and joy~ But your photos mean the world to Us. Thank You Kelsey for capturing moments of joy, love, hope, excitement , laughter, dreams, & precious family history. ~ Jocelyn carried these precious boys in her womb. Sean and Jocelyn took great care of their babies, they were already Mommy and Daddy to Sawyer, River, and Kingsley. Jocelyn birthed them one by one, Sean and Jocelyn, witnessed their boy's breath(s) of life , and then surrendered Sawyer, River, and Kingsley, into the arms of heaven. We grieve, but not with out Hope~ Our Hope is in Heaven~ Where one day, this precious Mom & Dad, will be reunited with Sawyer, River and Kingsley once again. It is the Lord who carries each one of Us in our sorrow. It is only through Jesus Christ that we can bear this pain with grace. I want to end with the lyrics from a song by the Christian group Selah~ The song is titled~ I Will Carry You ( Audrey's Song) , by Todd Smith, Angie Carole Smith, Christa Wells~ There were photographs I wanted to take. Things I wanted to show you. Sing sweet lullabies. Wipe your teary eyes . Who could love you like this? People say that I am brave, but I'm not. Truth is I'm barely hanging on. But there's a greater story. Written long before me. Because He loves you like this. So I will carry you. While your heart beats here. Long beyond the empty cradle. Through the coming years I will carry you All my life. And I will praise the One who's chosen me To carry you. Such a short time, Such a long road. All this madness but I know. That the silence has brought me to His voice and He says. I've shown her photographs of time beginning. Waled her through the pared seas. Angel lullabies. No more teary eyes. Who could love her like this? So I will carry you. While your heart beats here. Long beyond the empty cradle. through the coming years. I will carry you. All your life and I will praise the One who's chosen me to carry you~ Thank You Kelsey~ May you be blessed, as you bless others, in a very deep, profound, and wordless way ...with your gift of photography. May your heart be your inspiration and your eyes the camera~ Thank you~ With Gratitude and Love~ Beth la JOY~ Sawyer, River, and Kingsley's~ Mima & Papa-Phooie~ always and forever holding onto HOPE~ until Our Faith has become sight~ xoxo~
No comments posted.