Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

What You Did Not Know

A friend of mine recently spent some time visiting England with his wife and daughter.  It was a really wonderful trip from all of the pictures that he shared.  But I noticed something that originally made me sad.  Yes, there were some selfies of him, but the majority of the photos were of his wife and daughter.    I complimented him on the photos, and that it looked like a good time was being had.  But I also made the suggestion, “make sure you get some photos there with your daughter so that she has those memories as well.”  He indicated that his wife had taken many photos of him with his daughter, just had not gotten around to posting them.  I felt a huge relief for my friend, for what I feared would only end up a trip with nothing to remember anything by.

This year marks the fifth year that my father passed away.  It was back during the days preparing for his memorial, and going through numerous photos, that I realized, there were not many of not just my father and I, not of my mother and I either.  There were plenty of photos of each of them, a lot of photos of me, and even our pets, house, and various relatives.  But rarely any photos of parent(s) and child.

The truth is, it only came natural to me, to take so many photos of my daughters and me together (as well as the thousands of them).  But not until my father’s passing did I understand just how important they would be.

The relationship between my father and I was distant, as a result of divorce.  My mother, a working mom, also had very little time for recreation.  And that meant, very few photos.  But there were photos, even if only some.  And they had a story to tell.

I came across the movie Kodachrome yesterday.  Of course I am dating myself with the reference as Kodachrome is a photograph product that has gone by the wayside, just as 8-tracks and vinyl did for the music industry.  In the movie, the father and son are estranged, until a nurse locates the son, to inform him that his father is dying.  A world renowned photographer, he has one wish.  There is only one Kodachrome developing shop left in the country, and it is closing forever in just days.  He has four rolls of 35mm film that he wants developed before he dies.  The movie progresses like the typical road trip/mend fences journey, potholes along the way.  Everywhere they go, they run into people who have seen the father’s work over the years.  But without spoiling the movie, the film does get dropped off in time before the father passes.  And then we find out just how important those remaining rolls of film were.

Growing up, we are usually too busy experiencing to worry about remembering.  And in retrospect, we hope that our parents did take enough photos.  Unless, sadly, we find out, that there are not many, or enough, at least for the story that we want to remember.

Here are the only three photos I have of my father with me as a child.  And nearly as many as an adult.

It was instinctual that I have taken so many photos of my daughters over the years.

And I plan to take many more.

It is just, like my friend who traveled to England, we are both long term cancer survivors of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  Our children were either too young, or not even born yet, when we faced this cancer.  But our children know all too well the serious health challenges that we face today, because of the late developing side effects from our treatments.  We know all too well, the odds that are against us, which only drives us harder to make sure that we create, and save as many memories that we can, for our children to look back on, remember, and smile.  Our lives have not gone as we thought or hoped that they would, but you know what, we are doing well with what we have, and what we can.

I cannot speak for my friend, but I know that my doctors have told me, they want to keep me around to someday be called a grandfather.  Well, that is some time away.  And until then, I am going to keep making memories, and saving them.

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