KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City area photographer looks at the end of life through a different lens, one that can be whatever a family needs.
The nonprofit she founded aims to help people see there is beauty in the sadness, the grief and the discomfort.
A Prairie Village widower tells FOX4 he’s grateful his family of five got pictures taken that will last forever.
The Trixi Lou Project, a new nonprofit, helped make it happen.
With each click, Allison Bush captures a memory.
“Tell me about your favorite family vacation,” Bush said.
The families through her lens may find these pictures more meaningful than most.
Bush started a nonprofit offering photos for families with a loved one facing a terminal diagnosis, including Stephanie Drennon, Brian’s 43-year-old wife.
“It’s a snapshot in time, that before she really got sick,” Drennon said. “They’re really just beautiful pictures that can never be taken away. We can never forget them.”
Stephanie was diagnosed with colon cancer in March. He said it had metastasized to her liver and she passed away three months later.
“She was a teacher, she was a friend, she was amazing, she touched a lot of people, and we were lucky to spend any amount of time with her,” Drennon said with tears in his eyes. “A thousand years wouldn’t have been enough time.”
During that time, Bush took these post-diagnosis pictures of their family outside the Nelson Atkins Museum.
Drennon said he visits these photos and memories frequently.
“Do you have a family inside joke?” Bush said taking a picture.
That’s what Bush wants, families to be able to feel these photos again with the loved ones who may not physically be there.
“Can hear like the things whispered in their ear or like smell the grass, like all of that,” Bush said. “I want to be able to protect their memory of the experience and then give them something tangible to take along with them.”
She knows the pain of losing a loved one and not having a keepsake to hold onto.
Her mother died of lung cancer when she was 21. Bush was her caregiver. However, they didn’t take many photos together.
That’s how The Trixi Lou Project was born, ironically on her mother’s birthday.
Trixi Lou is also her mother’s penname.
“The logo is her signature of Trixi Lou,” Bush said.
13 years later, Bush keeps her mom’s handwriting close while honoring her memory. She said serving families offers healing of her own.
“If I can provide these images for one person that doesn’t have the same regret and the same missing pieces as they move throughout their lives, that is, that’s everything,” Bush said tearfully. “That’s all it is.”
Bush is hoping to work with Children’s Mercy, KU Cancer Center and several other organizations about working with families they serve.
The sessions are free, she said.
Bush said her photography business is also offering mini sessions as a fundraiser for The Trixi Lou Project. All the money goes straight to the nonprofit according to Bush. Click here for more information.