The Life of Nikolai Alexander Eliyahu Luisi
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Juliana Laury Photography | Chester County, Lehigh Valley, and Montgomery County Wedding Photographer
… sometimes the darkness is a beautiful thing
There is a very important person that I would like for you to meet today. His name is Nikolai. We called him Niko for short. He was was born on February 24th 2016 at 10:56 am, 7 pounds and 7 ounces. He lived for just over 3 hours. In that time, and in the hours that followed his passing, he was showered with more love and affection than some people have ever known, and for that I am grateful. You see, when you fall in love with a child you are grateful for all of the small things. His soft, smooth skin with tiny little peach fuzz patches on his shoulders. His little button nose, and the sudden instinct you feel to eskimo kiss that nose with your own. His legs, fleshy and supple, yet delicate enough to feel the bone. Why would you not photograph every waking moment you have with him? And so I did. And now his physical presence in the world IS these photographs.
We are looking at something that is hard, we are feeling the tough emotions and staying there, we are confronting the painful parts of life. This body of work is about how we process that. Starting from 5 year old Gavi and 8 year old Sarah, Niko’s brother and sister who had been expecting to come home with a baby brother and instead had to face a nearly incomprehensible idea such as death, to Patricia who carried her baby a full 37 weeks only to have him struggle so much when he was introduced to the world, to Dennis, the guiding light in the eye of the storm, who mourned with his wife and cared for his kids and held his own mother when her heart broke for the loss of her grandchild. Then it comes to you. I’m asking you to prepare your heart today as you look at these images. Because every time your eyes linger on the screen you are processing that moment, the raw and sometimes secret parts of life. I don’t believe it should be secret. It should be documented because in doing so we honor what that human being meant to the world. Niko was here to remind us how lucky we are, he wants us to make the most of our hours. He was here for a reason. And I was there to record it for a reason. He and I, we want to ignite your soul toward living a meaningful life. This is the most important story I have ever told. And I can’t thank Patricia and Dennis enough for allowing me into this sacred space, and even further than that, allowing each of you to witness this piece of their lives by sharing their most vulnerable moments. We should all aspire for such bravery in our own lives. We must all continue to press into the hard and imperfect things. It won’t always be easy. But it will always be worth it.