Into the Mystic: Celebrating a Life on the Amalfi Coast

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I don’t know how to deal with death. I don’t know what to say to people when they suffer loss, and I don’t even know what to say about it now for this post. The only thing I know to talk about was what it felt like to join my friend on the Amalfi coast in Italy as she said goodbye to her son. I was honored that rather than find another Italy photographer, she allowed me to join her and capture the story of such an important moment in her life.

It was so incredibly beautiful. I know that it should be sad, but somehow it wasn’t sadness that reigned. There was sadness of course, but the joy and the love that Shannon has for her son was palpable.  I was moved by such a love and the gravity of the moment and the brevity of life.

What follows is a photographic account of Frankie’s 25th birthday— how Shannon and I celebrated his life in the place he always wanted to visit, and where he went back to the earth from which we all emerge.

On the morning of the 21st, we woke up in our beautiful AirBnB villa in Pianillo to the sun shining, ready for a full day of celebrating Frankie’s life. Having spent the previous day in Amalfi and Ravello, we headed to Positano to do some shopping for a white dress and just to enjoy the city a bit. Shannon wanted it to feel like a true celebration of Frankie, so we ate pizza, cannoli, and drank local wine.  After spending most of the day in Positano, we drove back to Praiano where Shannon knew Frankie was meant to be. Walking down to stand below a tower that reminded her of how Frankie was the king of her heart, Shannon spent her final moments with Frankie, dancing to “Into the Mystic” — their song that they danced to since Frankie was very young. Finally, she released him into the sea and we cried and embraced as he became again part of the earth.  It was so beautiful and I’m so happy to share the photos from the experience.

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