This is a bittersweet story with the happiest possible ending.
In 2007 I photographed Jennie and Chico's wedding
at the Meadowood in St. Helena. Jennie and Chico were that perfect kind of couple: funny, warm, and laid back. I could tell at the wedding they were well loved. I could also tell, from some of the toasts, that Chico had had a health scare with cancer. It was in remission.
After the wedding I became friends with Chico's family.
In 2010 Chico's cancer came back. This time it was bad. The family knew that he would not survive. They just didn't know how long they had together. Jennie and Chico were trying to have a baby, but they didn't manage to get pregnant before Chico died.
I got the e-mail from Jennie in March 2011. I was devastated and so sad. It made me wish I had known Chico better. The last time I saw Chico we were at his mom's house. He was showing me photos he had taken. He was a good photographer. His photos were just like him: witty, funny, and thoughtful. I thought that if he ever wanted to quit his job in finance he could be a professional photographer. Now I wish I had talked to him more about that.
I wish I had talked to him more, period.
Last year Jennie e-mailed me again. She wanted me to photograph her newborn baby! She and Chico had frozen his sperm. Amazing. Before he died, Chico had a Danish nurse named Pernille who took great care of him. He and Jennie decided that if they ever had a baby girl they would name her Pernille.
Here are Jennie, Pernille, Jennie's partner Richard, and their Plotthound Lucy. Today on facebook Jennie wrote that Pernille has Chico's eyes. (I hope figuratively as well as literally).
Today is Chico's birthday. He would have been 32. Happy Birthday Chico, we miss you dearly.
Jennie and Chico showed up last week with this delicious pumpkin bread that Jennie made. And then Viola and Phillip brought candy from Thailand and Indonesia. Yum. I think my clients are trying to fatten me up!
Jennie and Chico just got married at the Meadowood
in Napa. Here is Jennie in a moment of anticipation right before the ceremony.