You would never believe that four months before this bridal session this magnificent bride was fighting for her life on the shores of Hawaii during her honeymoon. Take in the energy and striking beauty of this real-life editorial and read Maura’s story below. I promise you’ll be moved.
From the Photographer
Maura has an energy about her that just radiates all around her; you can’t help but notice that she’s always glowing, no matter what. So when you read on, think about this indomitable energy of hers and how, after everything that transpired, she’s still glowing throughout this photoshoot that I offered her to celebrate her recovery and triumph over adversity.
Maura writes of the experience during her honeymoon in June:
“First, the good news: after our amazing wedding, Andrew and I had the most epic mini-moon in Kauai. We spent 7 days frolicking in the Kalalau valley, making spiritual pizza with old friends, playing in waterfalls among the ferns and beloved taro plants and catching tiny shrimp called opae and prawns in the high pools of this majestic valley.
We lived off the land together. We then swam, with only a dry bag of food and our sleeping sacs, to the enchanted sacred land of Honopou, the most beautiful pair of beaches I have ever beheld. It is a place that can only be accessed by swimming so it is rarely visited and yet has everything one needs to survive: the shelter of a natural arch, a tremendous waterfall with delicious water, abundant firewood, and two glorious white sand beaches backed by striking cliffs.
For four unforgettable days and nights Andrew and I dwelt here like Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, basking in the sun and sand, meditating together and letting Eckhart Tolle speak to our intensely magical experience.
I became totally enthralled with and quite adept at hunting for abalone, pouncing down on the rocks in between waves and feeling the power of the ocean as the waves crashed on the black rocks. I created amazing meals of abalone and curry and coconut milk every night. Andrew showed me the ways of the waves and introduced me to the boogie board. Continually during the four days we were shocked by the utter beauty of the place and the Transpersonal experience we were having there on our own private set of beaches.
The hard news:
On the fourth day I caught a wave on the boogie board that was destined toward massive destruction in the form of shore break. I caught air and gained tremendous speed just before the wave grabbed me and thrust my head into the Earth with such force that my soul left my body and felt the insistent pull of death, dragging me down a black tunnel as a white bolt of lightning thundered through my body.
lt was LOVE, my friends, that glowing powerful true nature of all and my deep love for Andrew, my consort, that pulled me, snatching, dragging, heaving back out of that tube of death and poured my soul back into my body.
Things are different now (but aren’t they always?). Andrew rescued me and laid me out on the land. With the blood on my face and the shocks of hot electricity that were reverberating through my hands and face, we weren’t sure for a while if they were my last moments. It seemed more than likely that my spine was broken. The pain was the most intense I have endured. We were lucky to have our friend Scotty there and he swam out into the deep ocean to flag one of the last boats of the evening on summer solstice.
They called the coastguard who dispatched Rescue 1, Kauai’s rescue helicopter at the last possible moment on the longest day of the year. They transported me with my head and feet hanging clear out of the open copter through a storm of great magnitude: helicopter dropping through blackness, blades kicking raindrops onto my hands and feet in a fiery fury.
I stayed three days in the inpatient unit of the hospital where I was made aware of the grace that my spine is intact, though I have sustained a serious spinal cord injury and a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
I am back in Boulder now and am expected to make a full recovery. I have full use of my limbs although my hands still run with the crackling fire of electricity. The wounds to my face have healed in a superhuman fashion and are nearly gone. I have a long road of healing ahead of me and may need to call on my community to help relieve Andrew from my continual care. The TBI will be the longest road and I will need you all to be patient with me. Right now I am living in the ecstatic bliss of being alive on this planet.”
And her husband, Andrew, speaks so well of her radiant energy:
“So I’m finally going to play the wedding-followed-by-near-death-honeymoon-rescue card and gush a little….
In the 3 months since the wedding of my dreams to the woman of my dreams, I have been humbled by the piercing beauty of our journey together. Facing the possibility of losing my beloved partner only days after our wedding is something that has taken time to really sink in. The experience still speaks to me in the language of gratitude. For each day I have another opportunity to speak my love, I am truly blessed.
When I met Maura almost 2 years ago, I was struck by the unique and radiant spark she dances into being. In walking together through the fear and rawness of her injury, and the pressure-cooker of recovery, I am struck by just how deep her radiance runs. I have learned so much by witnessing her grace through this ordeal. This path continues to push us, as individuals, and as a couple, and I am so thankful to meet life at each turn with such an inspiring partner.
As she emerges from her neck brace into ever-greater mobility, I celebrate Maura and the circle of loved ones who have come through to support us in so many ways!”
Photographer: James Moro Photography
Four months later, I saw Maura & Andrew again for the first time since her injury, and I was utterly amazed that the same beautiful, glowing Maura was still thriving. Had I not recalled the tragic accident that transpired over her honeymoon, no one would be the wiser to the adversity that she has overcome in the 4 months since the incident. Yet, I’ve chosen to share the whole story because her’s is truly an inspiring tale.