It’s a challenge to stop and focus on something other than our daily routine – our fast paced, gizmo-gadgety, instantaneous lifestyle. At times a natural catastrophe or two will wake us up, but even after that, our focus gets redirected back to what is going on with US. I’ll be the first one to raise my hand and admit to this. For some of us, however, it simply comes naturally to put down our own chaos and reach out to others. In particular, this sums up Bridgett Kilmer Daggy.
In the midst of the 2011 flood, I was trying to organize a Chair-ity Auction to help others. Just like today, I was throwing post upon post out there to find artists, brainstorm ideas and network with potential vendors. I received an email from a woman who was not only enthusiastic – she was a force of nature. Interestingly, she was also a flood victim in an old farm house in Candor, though she chose NOT to share that at the time. She said, “THIS is amazing! I’m helping you!”… and she did! Think Etsy stamps to authenticate our Chairs, donations, more chairs, colorful tags, and endless ideas. Because I tend to go “full force” not realizing what I’m getting myself into, one day, she just showed up at my door and said, “You’re gonna need help to pull this off by the weekend…. Sooooo, tell me what you have going on in the office because I’m here to help.” Who stops long enough to recognize that about someone else and even better, to then do something about it?!?!?!… Bridgett Kilmer Daggy.
As time passed, Bridgett had a child, Eli. I photographed him as a baby and it was tons of fun to be re-united with Bridgett.
I kept in touch with her via social media and this summer, I read of her journey to have another child…5 years in the making, and she and her husband were blessed with IVF twins. They were due to arrive this December, but they came early, weighing 2 lbs 14 oz and 4 lbs 8 oz and earning their tickets to the NICU. Bridgett e-mailed me alllll along the way. These were her dreams and she trusted me to photograph them the minute it was safe. November 27th, I met Willow and Owen. Willow is so much tinier than her brother and I asked Bridgett, “How scared were you in the NICU with her?” Her response is the epitome of the energy Bridgett brings with her wherever so goes: “NOT at all. I knew she was gonna make it. My sister said to me, Bridgett, she’s SO little. I said, I’m not worried. She’s going to be fine.” Bridgett spoke that fearlessly as I choked up… ha. The Mom stronger than the photographer listening… really?
I share this story about this woman because tragedy has entered her life, or as I would say, “Life” has happened. On December 7th, Bridgett’s husband Aaron passed away unexpectedly, leaving her with the 7 1/2-week-old twins and Eli. This is the type of person who would STOP her life to help yours and has already done so. She didn’t know me in Owego. She didn’t know any of us in Owego, but she rallied behind us to help put our lives back together. Bridgett’s husband was the same way – not only an ER doctor, he was a volunteer firefighter in every town he moved into. There’s a trust being created for Eli, Willow and Owen and a place to donate to any of Aaron’s fire stations (information in the obituary, and see links at the bottom of this post).
This is our chance to STOP and help. And if helping monetarily isn’t possible for you, I understand. Simply take a minute and share a piece of your life with Bridgett. Email your thoughts to me with the subject line “BDaggy” and I will forward them onto her unread (firstname.lastname@example.org).
A magnificent friend once told me… “In the process of death in our culture, it’s all backwards. We gather endlessly for a few days while the shock is still in the air. Then the food platters stop coming and the flowers die and the frantic rushing is over… it is then that the sadness and the process of healing begins. It’s then that we should surround our friends who are coping with their loss.” If you choose to write a note or send something other than money. I’ll hold those for several weeks and send them at a time that we would ALL appreciate being comforted.
Trust established at Tioga State Bank, PO Box 125, Candor, NY 13743-0125 (checks payable to Bridgett Daggy).
Locations where Aaron was a volunteer firefighter include: