Capturing Life’s Most Precious & Treasured MomentsFebruary 2013 By Denise Dougherty of Sunshine Spirit Photography
It was a shock for several reasons; our 64-year-old pillar of strength was never sick. We hung up pictures of all his grandkids and told him stories about their lives, first soccer games, birthdays, etc.
He fought for 21 days, but in the end, he asked to be taken off of life support. We understood why; his quality of life would have been affected severely, leaving him unhappy. We respected his decision.
“You’re never prepared” is the saying you often hear when a death occurs, and how right that statement is. After my dad died, one of the first reflex reactions I had was to grab everything I could that reminded me of him, including his work boots, in which I remember hearing him gingerly step down the stairs every morning around 4:45 a.m. when I was younger.
I wanted to call his cell phone just to hear his voice again, and I wanted to find every photograph that either anyone or myself had ever taken of him. I didn’t want these photos just for me, but for my kids who are two and four years old and who will never remember knowing him.
So I do have photos of my dad when he was a baby, at his high school prom with my mom, in Vietnam, and his official service photo, which we always proudly display and will use at school on Veterans Day. I also have a picture of the Purple Heart he received, pictures of our camping trips growing up, at least a dozen pictures of him on his beloved Harley, and many mere snapshots of him in our daily lives as we were growing up. Each photo brings back feelings and memories that I realize have been lying dormant in me.
Our quality of life is what we all like to capture in our pictures, right? The human spirit captured via a lens at its best, worst and all stops in between. We desire to capture hope, empathy, love, even sadness as our emotions and feelings make us real people.