So again, this is a year behind but with the school year in full swing I figured this was a great time to post Holden’s senior session from last year!! I promised to not emabrass him so I will try to keep my word because I owe this fella a lot!! My husband met Holden years ago when their love for wakeboarding found them skiing together on the Tar River. A couple years passed and I heard his name over and over. Chris talked about the laughs they had on the river, the talent he saw in Holden, and the respect he had for Holden’s family. He admired the way his family was so invested into Holden’s love for the sport. Everytime Holden stepped on the river, his Dad was always there.. encouraging him and learning along with him.
There is a common bond that connects any sport and wakeboarding is just the same. It wasn’t unusual for Chris to ride with them, but last summer I shudder to think what our life could be like now like if Chris has been on another boat instead of Holden’s boat. One of the first rules of any water sport is to always keep your eyes on the rider in the water… always, always, always. And I’ll be the first to admit, that I have always been huge on that rule while my kids where in the water but with Chris, I was way more relaxed. Especially if there were other people in the boat. Maybe it was because I expected others to watch him, maybe it was because I was confident in his skills, or maybe it was because I just wanted to chat. Regardless, I now realize how HUGE of a mistake that could be!
As I was shooting a wedding, Chris made a last minute call to take the boys and go out with Holden and his dad. So when the wedding finished and I called to find out where they were I was shocked and confused when Justice answered his phone and said, “Dad has been hurt, there was a tree and he hit his head?” My head started swirling with all kinds of crazy thoughts and the only thing I could think was, maybe he was walking in the yard or cutting grass and a tree limb fell and hit him in the head. Was he conscious? Was the ambulance called? It must be bad if Chris wasn’t talking? Were the boys alone? They must be scared! Before any thoughts could really come together, a man was now speaking on the other end of the phone. He was saying Chris had been in an accident, he was knocked unconscious, he had come back around, but they were heading to Port Terminal. In an instant I knew he had been on the river and then I realized he was with Briley’s. My heart dropped, I felt sick, more questions flooded my head but the only thoughts that I could really rationalize was, I needed to call Todd (his twin brother) and I have to get to him. To make a long story short, Chris had attempted a trick that he has done hundreds, maybe thousands, of times on a narrow part of the river. Because it was narrow, it made landing tricky but not impossible for Chris… well except for this particular spot. At the exact spot he was landing a giagantic tree had fallen down directly in his path. He landed and he hit it full force, there wasn’t time for him to react. He took full impact. He was immediately knocked unconscious and rested face down in the water. This is the part where even now my heart shutters. Because those on the boat had their eyes on Chris, they immediately flipped the boat around and sped back to him. Without hesitation, Holden, his dad and another friend jumped in and swam to Chris as my boys watched their dad float lifeless on the water. Because of their quick thinking and reaction, Chris was floating face down in the water for probably less than a minute. After 3 days in the hospital with a fracture in his skull, a Bell’s Palsy episode a week later, and weeks of recovering, life slowly started to return to normal.
So when Holden’s mom asked me to do some Senior pictures for Holden there wasn’t even a question on whether I would do them. To me, Holden and the others on the boat that day, are and always will be heroes!! And when they asked me if we could finish on the river where the accident happened, I didn’t even have to think twice… for me, this is where the friendship began!!
So check out some favs and just remember when you get to the action ones…. I’m not an action photographer so I was a little out of my element.