Facing My Greatest Fear

sarah-lehberger-mother-daughter-photo I said "it" out loud for the first time this summer. I am afraid of DYING.

I don't fear what comes after death, because I believe that my heaven will be filled with all of my old pets and loved ones greeting me with hugs, meows, wagging tails and kisses. I AM AFRAID of leaving my children behind, and leaving them with words unspoken or faint memories of their Mother.

I never used to fear death in my younger years. Maybe it was because I felt invincible? I had always been the ambitious go-getter, the explorer, the one to accept every truth or dare (unless it involved bungee-jumping or skydiving). So why all of a sudden did I have this crippling fear of dying? And why was it holding me back from living?

MOTHERHOOD. It forever changed me... and I wasn't ready for it, nor was I expecting this feeling to be so intense! It's safe to say that it scared the crap out of me. That's hard for this fearless woman to admit, yet I need to clear the air and be real. The thought of me leaving them before I am ready, before they have their first crushes, before they find their talents, before they find their passions, before they find true love and become parents, it is one of the most unbearable thoughts. This haunts me.

sarah-lehberger-family-photo

When I face this fear head on, I am reminded that I need to tell them how much they are loved... right now! I need to leave some proof behind. I need to share what's in my heart and make sure they hear it. I need to LIVE and LOVE wholeheartedly, and especially when it's hard to (usually when they are driving me crazy or my patience has worn thin). I need to embrace who I am and show them that our dreams are worth fighting for. I need to show them that it takes courage to be imperfect. Most importantly, I need them to know that they matter, that they are enough just the way they are, that they belong (so very much), and that they have brought me so much JOY!

So what is the reason for these photos? I realized that I need to be in them. That's it. This Mom needs to be in the photos. I need to be present in their memories and not always behind the lens. I need to leave a legacy behind.

I have to forget about the exterior of Sarah, and remember that there is so much more inside of me that matters. I have to remind myself that they won't see my imperfections. They won't stare at the lines forming around my eyes, the odd vein that keeps popping out from the center of my forehead, the adult acne that drives me crazy, and the chin that likes to double itself in photos sometimes. Nope. That's just what I see.

sarah-lehberger-mother-daughter-portrait

I hope they will see...

  • a woman who's sentimental perspective allowed her to find joy in her present
  • a woman who's fiery personality gave her strength through her struggles
  • a woman who chose to be unstoppable and to live her bold and brave life

There is still so much that I need to say, do and share with them. And I suppose that I take comfort in knowing that right now... at this very moment... I choose to live my greatest life with them without the fear of dying. I choose to be my nostalgic, spirited and fearless self, and when that haunting feeling tries creeping in... I will shake it off with an impromptu family dance party or a quick get together with friends to celebrate that we are truly ALIVE!!

Lots of love and gratitude to my friends Kasey Matson and Dave Noonan for for these priceless family photographs that I will always treasure. (Note: I would include more photos of my son, but he refuses to sit still for any of us and getting more photos with him is my goal for 2014.)

PS - Please don't let the holidays and this time together pass by without you in the photo all because you aren't "camera ready".  Jump in that photo! Be present! Be seen! I promise you they won't care if you look like a hot-mess with cookie dough all over your face... they will only see how happy she was on that day. :-)

SarahXOXO

 

Sarah Lehberger

Easton, CT

Sarah Lehberger is a photographer based on the shoreline of Connecticut, just 90 mins from New York City, in the small town of Easton. She specializes in photography that celebrates working Moms and their families. She is also a Co-Founder of She Will Thrive, providing business coaching, retreats and workshops to women entrepreneurs, creatives and small business owners.

Sarah's career started in the news and entertainment industry. A storyteller at heart, she began photographing weddings in 2003 while also working full time at Getty Images, NY in their editorial department. Sarah enjoyed the fast-paced and glamorous events she would collaborate on, yet deep down she was craving more purpose driven work. In 2005 she decided to leave the corporate world to launch her full time wedding business, which received numerous awards and features throughout the industry.

In 2013 Sarah rebranded her business so she could continue her mission to celebrate women, with a new focus on mothers. She feels strongly about empowering women and creatives to succeed, and has been a speaker at conferences such as ShootDotEdit's Unlimited Happiness Tour, Inspire Photo Retreats, as well as a past coach and mentor for Team X Academy.