It would be my father's 58th birthday today. Unfortunately I won't get to call him and tell him how much I love him, or hear his voice or his laugh because he just recently passed away. 3 months ago he had a massive heart attack and didn't survive. Receiving the call turned my world upside down and I am just now able to start putting the pieces back together and make sense of this new puzzle of my life. If you have lost a parent, or a close loved one, or your hero, then you know exactly what I have been going through these past few months. My reality has changed, my life has changed and learning how to live my life without the love and support from my Dad has been a very painful and difficult process. The reason I post this is to ask... Would you / have you hired a photographer for a funeral? I imagine this is a very controversial topic, even in my family. A close family member did not want to hire a "photographer" and it was something that I felt strongly about so, unfortunately, I was the one who captured those images.
It was so beautiful, I had to bring my camera. I brought it to the viewing. I was tasteful and discrete but what I really wanted to capture was the display of all his guitars surrounding his casket. The flowers. The room we sat in for hours grieving, crying and honoring my Dad. It all happened so fast, and even a few months later it feels like such a blur. Last night, I looked at those pictures I took for the first time. I am happy I took them and I will be creating a beautiful gift of them for his wife, who also wanted pictures taken too. I'm still not sure how I feel about it but what I do know is that I have those images, the solidified memories of the beautiful tribute we planned for my Father. I have the pictures that captured so much more than an image. It was a time of deep pain and sorrow. A time of love and appreciation for the wonderful man he was. All that is wrapped up in those pictures. I don't know what I’ll do with them but they are the last piece of my Dad that I have and they will be cherished. My Dad's service the next day was just as beautiful. There were so many people who attended to pay their respects. It was a wonderful service and there was even a harpist. His stepson who was the pastor of the service and his other two step children performed songs to honor my Dad. I closed the services with playing part of song he loved on my saxophone, Samba Pa Ti by Carlos Santana.
My father was a big influence in my life, he helped shape me to be the entrepreneur I am today and his love of photography was passed down through me. His love for music and incredible musical talents seeped into my being and because of him, I am a musician too. He was a very involved Father all throughout my life and I could always count on him if I ever needed anything. I received that dreadful call on Sat. night 1.31.15 that he had a massive heart attack and then that horrific call a few hours later that he didn’t make it. My life turned upside down that moment. I flew down to Los Angles the next day to grieve with my sisters and help make arrangements for my Father's funeral. It's crazy how many decisions need to be made in such a short amount of time, this was my 1st funeral to help plan, and hopefully the last one for a very long time. The family all got together and worked so beautifully to create a wonderful "Celebration of Life" for my Father. One of the pieces that I took care of was creating a Tribute, honoring his life. A slideshow of hundreds of pictures set to some of his favorite songs... Man, that was difficult!! It took me a full 3-4 days of sorting through pictures, editing them, setting it to music, perfecting transitions and timing, incorporating videos... and then the program crashed so I had to start all over again. I didn't sleep well that weekend, my brain was on the fritz and i still feel like i'm recovering from all that. But I wouldn't have had it any other way, making "pic'deos' is my thing. I love creating them. I’ve made several dozen over the years and it only made sense I made one for my Dad. Whew. Everyone seemed to enjoy it and let me tell you, once I did that FINAL SAVE, I was so relieved it was done. What I am so grateful of is that I was able to make my Dad one of my 1st "Alpha-Artwork" pieces. A few months ago I visited him and took some pictures of his guitar. I was able to give it to him for Christmas and he told me how much he loved the idea, how talented I was, how proud he was of me, my new business and the unique and innovative artwork I was creating. His support touched my heart then, and now more than ever.
Well that’s my life the past few months. Grieving, trying to work through the pain and figure out this new world I live in, one without my Dad. I am getting back to my life and work but today, and I imagine all his birthdays, Father's Day and his death day, will be more difficult than most. Tonight, @ 9pm, I will be watching the tribute to his life and celebrating his greatness and invite you to join me, the link is at the end of this blog. To end this post I want to thank all my family and friends for your support, words of encouragement, all the cards and flowers, babysitting my kids and bringing over dinner too... it all is so greatly appreciated and biggest thanks to all to my husband who has been so understanding and loving through this... thank YOU!