I thought I was prepared. Turns out, I was wrong. Turns out...it is something you can never truly prepare for.
Two years ago today, my father...our papa... passed away. His was a hard fought battle. There had been a period in his 50's where we were certain we'd lose him. We didn't. He was stronger than that. But, two years ago, he struggled to stay here with us and, in the end, he lost.
The past two years have taught me so much that I could never put in words. About friendship, parenthood, marriage, life, death, but mostly about myself. It is a surprising and wonderful side affect of grief. Grief is like a fog that follows you around...and, then just when you think it has left for good to let the sunshine permanently, it arrives again. As time passes, the stretches where the fog stays away are longer. Life goes on. The sun does shine again. But some days, there will be fog. When you walk out of the fog, you are truly changed. I am so far from the person I was two years ago it isn't even funny.
I will tell you this. I wish I had more photographs. I'm not just saying that...it is so very true. I'm a photographer who failed at documenting that part of my life. I still do in ways. Older people don't always wish to have their photographs taken, so I don't. Out of a misguided respect of their wishes. It is truly misguided. I should have taken more photographs of him. Of him and I together. Of him and my kids. I have no idea why I didn't. But, I know the importance of these photographs now more than ever. This father's day, when you are hanging out with your dad--take a photograph with your iPhone. With any camera you have on hand. Just do it. You will never regret it, I promise.
This is a photograph of Jack and his Papa. Jack was my dad's first grandchild. And, in a lot of ways, they are very similar. Jack gave him his 'papa' name and the other kids made it stick.
My dad died the day before his birthday and a few days before Father's day. Odd timing that. It feels like this is his week in some ways. Tomorrow, we will celebrate his 70th birthday without him. And, then on Sunday, I will quietly remember him as we celebrate my husband. My dad LOVED dairy queen. Just LOVED it. Well, truly, he loved any sort of ice cream. At his funeral, we served Dilly Bars. We just picked up a box to enjoy this week. Georgia burst into tears in the car when we did it. Breaks your heart that...watching your children grieve. But, it was short lived because who can be upset while they are eating a Dilly Bar?
So...that's my throwback Thursday. Hug your family. Tell them you love them. It all goes way to fast.