I've been absent from this blog for quite a while.To be truthful, I've been absent from all my blogs, facebook fan pages, and most everything else, as well. Life just took over.
On December 1st, 2010, one of my life's worst fears came into being. It began with my Dad having a simple infection...a ten day hospitalization was the first of many to come.
What do you do when doctors think your father might have cancer?
What do you do when he tells you he does, after 6 months of testing?
How do you handle having to go through daily life, work, home, a two year old who needs you to be normal...while your dad goes through simultaneous Chemo, Radiation, repeated rushes to the ER...all while you live on the other side of the state?
My mind was not my own this past year.
It was with him.
Pancreatic cancer is a mother-fucking-bitch. It is not an isolated cancer. It's insidious; creeping and crawling through your body, causing so many painful and various physical ailments, so many endless procedures.
Going through this is like stomping out a cigarette while the forest is on fire around you.
My father was my first introduction into the world of photography. I have a sense that he was secretly thrilled when I truly began to think of myself as a photographer. I grew up with an enlarger in the garage, cameras passed down from both Dad and my grandfather, and favorite memories of having "slide projector nights", when we would listen to the endless "click click click" of the rotating carousels lighting up images on the living room wall.
I remember the click and the whoosh of each slide to come, the anticipation and excitement of what image would pop up next.
I still remember the magic those simple photos had. That sense of magic has never left me and I am so grateful for him exposing me to that..
Dad passed on December 1, 2011...just 49 days ago. The tides turned quickly the night before Thanksgiving and we were lucky enough to bring him home, in Hospice care, for that last week following.
I can't explain how intimate the whole time was, so thankful he allowed us to care for him, that he trusted us to do so. I've been around a lot of death in my life so far, but to be so intimately involved as this was like nothing you can relate to unless you've lived it.
To lay next to your dad in his Hospice bed while he tells you what to buy your mom for Christmas because he knows he won't be around for it.. that was hard.
To have him lock his grip on your hand while he shakes and moans in pain, while you can't do anything to help him.. fucking helpless.
To have to make decisions on whether he stays conscious or to give him more Morphine.. the heaviest yet easiest decision of my life.
To be terrified to even take a shower, not wanting to leave his bedside, not knowing when he might pass.. we were all prisoners along with him.. but I wouldn't take back one second of holding his hand.
We had good moments together all the way through this. I can't tell you how thankful I am that we had this year...
As Dad told my brother towards the end, "It was a good year". That puts a big smile on my face.
I have some wonderful memories through it all, even up to the end and after..
The first time we thought he was going to go, I suddenly was overwhelmed with happiness through my tears. I cried to him, "I hope I am so lucky as you to pass with my loved ones around me, holding my hands".
70 years seems like a young age to die at this day and age, but he got to see his children grow and know his grandson for over two years. Nothing is guaranteed, as cliched as it sounds.
These things are so precious when you think about not having them.
Helping dad pass was the most intimate, excruciatingly painful, beautiful experience I hopefully will ever go through. Those of you who have been through something similar can relate, I can imagine. It changed me. It changed all of us.
Thank you, Dad, for your humor, your love of art and nature, for being my biggest fan. I miss you every minute of the day and night. Words don't even come close to expressing this. I love you.
So what purpose does this story have being on my food blog? It's here because I need it to be. I need this post as a benchmark of a fresh start and a renewed passion for photography... photography has saved me many times in my life, but none so much as this past year.
I've never been so inspired with ideas as I am now. Thank you to my clients for your patience during this past year, your faith and support in me. I am just about caught up on all jobs, but in moving forward have had to already start new projects. The first project you will see is the Food Photography and Styling challenge group that I've started..the first posting will be tomorrow morning. I've really grown to admire and appreciate (okay and be a bit intimidated by) these incredibly talented women. .
Thank you for reading about my journey, how life took over this past year.
Looking forward, not back, and it puts a smile on my face.