My Father was my biggest fan. Two months ago today, July 13, 2013, he left my world for the next and I have been a little lost. This first 12 months following his death will be full of firsts, first time my children have their birthday without their grandfather, my husband and I had our 18th anniversary without my father just a few days after he passed back in July. It will be the first Holiday season without my father, then his birthday as well as mine without him physically here. I am at a workshop in Florida right now and every time I come back from a workshop, I see him the following day. I tell him about all the new things I learned, all the new people I met and the amazing community of photographers I feel privileged to know. He will not be there when I get back and I will not be able to share it with him. I have felt his presence all week though. He seems to be everywhere right now. I will be spreading some of his ashes here. He was in Florida as a young man in school before transferring to New Mexico to complete a degree in Pharmacy after serving in WWII.
My Father was a pilot for 29 years in the Air Force and his last station was at the Air Force Academy where he was a flight instructor and Professor of Human Physiology. He had many hobbies, one of which was Photography. He was good and he taught me a lot about cameras as a young girl. I would not be down the path I am with my life if it was not for my Dad. My studio partner, Linda Packard and I volunteered to create some portraits at my Father’s assisted living back in February. I wanted to give all the residents families a gift that I knew they would cherish. Several of those residents have passed since we did this. I did not know my father would be among them. Those images are my most cherished things I have now.
We took my father to the beach the spring of 2012. It was our last family vacation together. My husband noticed my Dad through our bedroom window sitting by the garden table and chairs set with our Dog. It is also another one of my most favorite images of my Dad that I have.
Take lots of photographs of the ones you love. Make sure you are also in some of those photographs. They will become the most precious things you have when that person is gone from your life. Don’t worry about how you look. Don’t use the excuse of “I will be in a family photograph when I loose weight, or cut my hair, have makeup on, have the right clothing on” It doesn’t matter. Photographs are about capturing life as it is happening. They freeze your moments in time and capture memories that you can relive over and over. Don’t make excuses. Be in the picture!
My father was an amateur photographer his whole life so I spent 4 days after he passed sifting through hundreds of photographs of him throughout his life time. It was amazing to see self portraits and images he took as a young man on his travels. He was in WWII as well as Korea. He also explored many areas of the US as a young man and climbed all the 14,000 foot peaks in the US. He was an Ice Dancer for the fun of it while in the military. My parents met in a skating club in DC. When he was stationed at the Air Force Academy, he was thrilled to skate with Peggy Fleming while she was training for the Olympics in Colorado Springs. One evening when I was a teenager in Golden Colorado, I turned on the news and saw a segment about a new program at the YMCA in downtown Denver. People where learning to fly on the trapeze. They showed some men on them, one doing flips back and forth, then landing onto the trampoline below then bouncing off to come and be interviewed. It was my Dad. I never knew what he was going to do. He was always doing something fun and daring. He taught all of us to live our lives fully and passionately. He always told us you could do anything you put your mind to, just go do it. Life is precious, and we don’t know when it is over. I plan to live my life like every day is the last.
If you would like to view my tribute to my father, please click on this: Dad’s Tribute