Yesterday I struggled to find a photo of my Dad and me.
I’m working on a new and exciting project to help raise awareness for dysphagia, the disease that stole my father’s quality of life and eventually my Dad from us. While a part of me was over the moon that I was selected for this incredible honor I struggled.
See, my Dad is now gone two long years, he was gravely ill for the last four years of his life and housebound the final two. All of our photos are hospital selfies. For the last four years of my father’s life I didn’t have the luxury of taking him out to a nice restaurant, or attending events with him. He was too sick. At first I had family members scold me for taking such unflattering photos of my Dad. How dare I share such photos! I probably should have dragged him outside and filtered the heck out of those photos. Maybe photoshop him at a NY Yankee game. Right? Wrong. My Dad was so ill just walking to the bathroom was a chore for him. Those hospital selfies were the best we could do. So, to the people who were “offended” sorry not sorry I photographed my father so I could remember every single second I had with him.
What you will see from our photos are portraits of my Dad and me as we care for each other on bad days and bond together as father and daughter on the good days. One thing is for sure – I adore my father and he loves me. And that is the best medicine you can get.
My extraordinary relationship with my father will live forever in my photographs.
Friends, take the photos. It doesn’t matter if you are all dressed up, feeling frumpy or in the hospital.
Take the photo. When you are gone you family will want those photos. Take the photo.
Messy hair, hospital gown, endless tubes, and beeping machines – those things won’t matter when you are gone. I promise you, your children won’t notice those things. What they will notice is your kind, loving eyes and that you took the time to take the photo.
See, to me my Dad was a real life superhero. I never once looked at him and saw a sick, frail guy. I saw my father the man who protected me my entire life. Even when his cancer had him at his worst I saw the man who was my first love and greatest protector in life. I saw my Dad.
So someday when you are not here what will matter is that even during your worst moments you loved your family enough to preserve that moment and capture your endless love. If a picture is worth a thousand words when someone is alive, imagine the value when the person is gone.
No family wants to look back into time at endless hospital selfies, but this is my story and these are the cards I was dealt. What matters to me now that my father is gone is that he loved me so much that he was willing to capture our moments together even in the hospital on his worst days.
It’s true, father does know best. Mine certainly did because he knew I would cherish our precious photographs for the rest of my life.
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