This is Josh & Sarah. Josh is brother to my dear friend Julie and Sarah is not just her sister-in-law but a true friend whom we (Julie’s friends) adore. I have always admired Julie’s sibling relationship with them–it’s the kind of sibling bond I think most people long to have. Josh and Sarah are the quintessential outdoorsy kind of folk. They are former Colorado residents and are current Oregonians, where Josh studied vitecology and works at a vineyard. They are bad-A in just about everything they do–cycling, hiking, climbing, and well anything. When Julie told me Sarah had won some crazy uphill cycling race you can imagine I was scared out of my mind when I rode with them for the first time in Boulder CO. I had already planned to blame my rookie cycling skills on the altitude, however I also knew the “altitude” wouldn’t be a strong enough case to cover my butt. I was pleasantly surprised when they didn’t care at all about needing to ride at their usual caliber. I felt accepted and at ease, which is my consistent experience of them. Josh is funny. He often has a coy smile and a look of mystery on his face. I sometimes think he thinks I’m kind of ridiculous, however I’m convinced this is a part of his humor. Sarah is “sweet as pie” (a classic Julie phrase). She’s incredibly talented at many things including sewing, painting, cycling, etc. She doesn’t know how beautiful she is and she’s far more adored by Julie and her friends than she likely knows.
Around a year ago we learned Josh has lung cancer, and because of Julie’s deep bond and her unfailing love for Josh and Sarah I feel deep sadness. Suffering is not an easy topic to discuss openly, however one thing I know is avoiding it can be far worse than at least trying to fumble through addressing it. As a counselor I am in the face of pain often. I have a deep conviction about living an honest life, however their pain is not mine to share. My experience as Julie’s friend has been heartbreaking. I felt honored and also enjoyed photographing Josh and Sarah. There is something very real, yet strange about learning about joy through suffering–i.e. not taking life for granted and truly cherishing your loved ones. Phrases such as this can often sound trite until you experience pain. . . Josh & Sarah, thank you for allowing me to document this time of life. You two are so loved.