I had a whole post written on Monday afternoon that was meant for today ... about what my family had been through in the past month and the things I had learned. How we had just begun the road to my father's recovery ... within 24 hours, the post would become unimportant. This past week our world was rocked as my father lost the fight for his life on Tuesday afternoon. One day before his 68th birthday.
I have spent the week with my mother preparing his service and handling all that comes with the passing of a family member. I am so grateful for my wonderful clients who have been beyond understanding at my need to reschedule, postpone, etc...and our family and friends have really embraced us with love and support. Not to mention the overwhelming support that I have received from my fellow photographers and suppliers. Thank you all...
One of my tasks has been to prepare a retrospective slideshow of his life, as is common at times like these. I was struck by these two images of my father. They were found among the throngs of slides that my mom had sitting in boxes. For me, there is something deeply nostalgic about looking at slides and super 8 home movies. These two pictures were taken the summer after my parents were married on a trip they took to Chicago. This is before I knew him...and yet, I can see glimpses of him. Of the man he would become. While completing this project in between receiving emails and phone calls detailing the influence my father had on the people in his life, I was struck how a person's life is made up of little experiences. Everyone has their own unique experience with someone and then, of course, that person has theirs...and somehow you piece all those experiences together to create a life. By pouring over our family images and movies, I feel like I know my father better today. Things that I had forgotten, I now remember. Stories I had never heard are now living in my own mind. Photography has a way of bringing you to that moment...of helping you remember. Maybe even if you weren't there. Remembering the story as it was told to you. Or helping you put the last piece of the puzzle in place. And, for my father who was always a hobbyist photographer, I can see his perspective. How beautiful he thought my mother was(and he clearly thought she was the most gorgeous person ever)...how much he loved all his cousins, nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles. Not to mention his kids. He loved us lots...
I remember one year when his birthday fell on Father's Day and we showered him with presents. The one that I remember was a t-shirt that said 'Dynamite Dad'. He loved that thing. He acted all cocky like 'of course I'm a Dynamite Dad' ... even though now that I'm a parent, I'm sure he had his doubts(he always hid his doubts well). He wore it with such pride. I'll never forget that shirt...and his 70's moustache.
This year, Father's Day falls on my husbands birthday...and he is getting the shaft a bit. A planned party was cancelled. I have been gone off and on literally all year...first with work and now with my father's passing. But, he has held down the fort. I wish I had found a shirt that said Dynamite Dad because he truly deserves it. Maybe next year.
So, to all of you who are able to...hug your dads. Tell them how 'dynamite' they are. Me, I'll be trying to remember the good times.
Happy Father's Day to the two Dynamite Dads in my life.