Let me start this off with my gratefulness that both of my parents are still alive. I have several friends who have either lost one parent or both parents. A few weeks ago, I was in fear of losing my father. As I’ve gotten older, I have become more and more aware of my mortality and the mortality of my loved ones. Even though I was aware of it I don’t think I actually ever really considered losing my parents. Not sure why. Perhaps like most kids, you think that your parents will always be there but deep down you know that’s not true.
Prior to my dad being hospitalized, he was doing alright. He was strong and busy. He had high blood pressure but was working to manage it. My dad is the kind of person who always has to be doing something. Lately, he’s been taking it easy and even relaxing and taking naps. I was rather happy about that because I figured he should enjoy some time doing nothing. He and my bonus mom live in the country, about an hour and fifteen minutes from me. Unfortunately, I don’t get to see him that often but when I do, I try to make the most out of it.
For the past few years, it has gotten more and more difficult to figure out what to get them for Christmas. Mind you, they only celebrate Christmas because we do. They are Buddhists and have been for many, many years. In fact, I think my father has been a Buddhist all of my life. That’s all I’ve ever known him to practice. The thing is, he never pushed it on us. If we were interested, great. If we weren’t, great. He thoroughly believes in people doing what they feel is best for them. Anyway, I figured that they have everything that they want, so I wanted to give them something else. It had been years since their last set of portraits, so I gifted them a portrait session. I really wanted to photograph them with all of the children but the logistics were a bit much. I have a brother in New York, a brother in North Carolina and a sister in Florida. All of my other siblings are here in Georgia. So, that was a no go. The next best thing was a portrait session just for the two of them.
This first image is my dad. He’s always a genuinely happy person. When you ask how he’s doing, he usually provides an adjective like, “fantastic” or he’d say “if I felt any better, there’d be two of me!” There are a lot of sayings from my father that I still carry with me to this day. My two favorite sayings are: “If you have something nice to say, say it” and “Happiness is a choice”. I live by both of those sayings. This image was probably my favorite because I think it shows his lively spirit.
This is my bonus mom. Let me tell you, she has a lot of patience because my dad is a handful.
I wanted to make sure that I photographed them together. They seemed to have fun with the session. In fact, my bonus mom told me she enjoyed it. I always love hearing that! During the session, they were kidding around and making each other laugh. My dad can be a bit silly. I guess that’s where I get it from. You can see one of his silly moments below.
In case you’re wondering, my dad is out of the hospital. He’s been at home for a while. He’s gotten a lot of his strength back, as well as his appetite. He even looks better but somehow, a little older. My bonus mom is taking good care of him but I know it’s difficult. What this entire ordeal has reminded me of is how important what I do actually is. I know my dad won’t be here forever but I also know that I will always have memories and photographs of him. I believe everyone should have that.