Every family loves differently, and my family is no exception. We share each other's joys, sorrows, and we're always there for each other. Although that sounds like any other family, it's in the way we share those emotions that make us different. We laugh-always. Get togethers during our good times are typically cookouts with good food, beers, and some game where we all get overly competitive. The more trash talk the better.
It's in our bad times that I'm truly amazed by my family. Seven years ago, I got a heart dropping call. On July 4,2009 my dad had a major heart attack while living in Louisiana for work. My dad was an amazing photographer and his business took him there a few years prior.
My sisters and I were in complete shock. My dad was hardly ever sick, let alone ever have something major like a heart attack. Suddenly all these memories came to me, this was the man that used to wake us up blaring Foreigner's greatest hits, the one who coached my basketball teams, the guy who took me to parks to teach me photography, and the person who used to KILL me in Monopoly with no shame... he was 800 miles away in an ICU and we didn't know much else. My stomach was in total knots.
My family in that moment came together, as always, and jumped in a car. It didn't matter that at the time my sister was a single mom, or that my husband and I just used pretty much all of our savings to buy our first home.. We were going, there was no question about it. On what was sure to be a miserable road trip, we saw beautiful scenery, stopped in questionable truck stops, ate total crap, slept in the car, got sick from consuming too many five hour energies, and laughed until we cried.
Several years and road trips later, my dad, though still battling for good health, was in better shape and chose to move closer to his girls. My dad was back home in Indy! We wasted no time in planning holidays, game nights, watching movies and going for ice cream. We've loved having him home.
Unfortunately, our lives didn't stay sweet and simple for long. A doctor in Louisiana originally told us that his replacement valve would run its course after six years. Six and a half years later, hospital trips began and week long stays have become the norm.
My dad in his younger days served in the Air Force from 1971-1974. My father flew C-130s in Vietnam in '72. Thanks to his service, most of his healthcare is provided by the VA.
It was discovered around Christmas 2015 by doctors at the VA that his valve was leaking, and because of this and COPD, his lungs were filling with fluid. They informed us that they would choose not to do surgery unless it was considered life threatening.
After about 4-5 emergency trips to different hospitals just in the last six months, here we are again. My father is currently in a hospital, but this time it seems completely different. A day after being admitted, they decided to perform an exploratory surgery to determine the next course of action.
The photographer that I am, I ALWAYS have some kind of gear with me. My dad has never approved of my choice to shoot with Canon, he's Nikon alllll the way. While visiting him before surgery, we got into an all out photography battle/discussion, and I told him that no matter what I shoot with or situation I was in, my skills have significantly improved since our last park outing. Next thing you know, the challenge was made. I was all over that hospital room showing him what I love to do, and even in the ugliest situations, I could find something beautiful with my camera. I know I looked insane the way I was all running all around his hospital room, rolling around, standing on furniture. Here we are again, seven years later, laughing until we cried. It was such a beautiful yet scary moment I shared with my family.
Although my family is again spending this summer holiday in the hospital with a tough road ahead, we will continue to laugh, continue to love what we do, and trash talk over board games. Happy fourth and enjoy with those you love most!