Megan and Bailey are inspiring. They are the kind of people who make you glad you know them. Both Megan and Bailey have endured great loss and tragedy in their young lives yet are determined to be difference makers. Back in the fall I took Megan’s senior pictures, and recently I did a mini session at Oak Grove Park in Chesapeake, Virginia for Megan and Bailey before she heads off to college in the fall.
Megan and Bailey met almost three years ago at Grassfield High School where they both were in a grief group the school counselor had started. I am honored to be able to tell their stories…stories of heartache, tragedy, loss, and overcoming.
In 2008, when Bailey was just ten years old, his dad, Mike, was serving as a Virginia Beach police detective. His dad was working in narcotics and was undercover attempting to buy an ounce of weed from a dealer. The drug dealer had conspired with another dealer to rob Mike because they knew he had $300 on him. So while he was making his drug transaction, Bailey’s dad was shot and killed by this second dealer. Shot and killed for $300 cash…not because he was a cop; they didn’t know he was undercover. Not because he was trying to rip them off or because he was causing trouble. He was killed because he had $300.
Bailey told me that for years after his dad died he lived mostly in solitude in his room. He ate a few pizzas a week and really didn’t want to do anything else. Once he got his license, however, things began to change. He found a personal trainer, started working out and eventually became a member of his high school track team specializing in shot put and discus.
In 2009, Megan and her dad, Mike, were riding his motorcycle when they were hit by a car. The driver wasn’t paying attention and ran right into them. Megan’s dad was killed instantly, and Megan was rushed by Nightingale to the hospital where she was put into a drug-induced coma for four days and was in the ICU for one week. Megan was in the hospital for a total of eight weeks before she was able to go home. After years of surgeries (12 in all–her final surgery was in November 2015) and therapy, Megan is now healthy.
In 2014, Megan and Bailey met in a grief group at Grassfield High School. They became friends, and when Megan wanted to go to ring dance but didn’t want to go alone, it was natural that she would ask Bailey. They’ve been together ever since.
Two years later, Megan and Bailey are not just boyfriend and girlfriend, but they are best friends who have helped each other out of the pit of hopelessness, depression, and self-pity.
Bailey says that Megan showed him that he didn’t need to be identified by his loss. She showed him that he can move forward and be happy and that being happy doesn’t mean he has forgotten his dad or stopped loving him.
Both Megan and Bailey graduated from Grassfield High School in Chesapeake, Virginia in 2016.
Bailey, at 18, is already an EMT and has gone through and graduated from the Fire Academy. He accomplished both of these demanding certifications while still finishing up high school. Bailey hopes to continue working in fields where he can literally help people out of danger everyday.
Megan will be attending Virignia Tech in the fall and wants to pursue a career in physical therapy, counseling, or some related field. She feels like all that she’s been through will help her to relate to others who have suffered and will enable her to help them work through their grief.
I love these two. I love how they have taken the hard things in their lives and have used them to become more compassionate and loving. I love that bitterness isn’t their default settings. Their losses are real and they still feel them–I’m sure they always will, but their losses are not what define them.