Celebrating the Class of 2022!
Senior year! So many emotions for the high schooler and their parents. It’s been a long time coming and now it is finally the last year of high school. You want to capture that moment-your child’s last year of school before becoming an adult and for the student it is their last hoorah before their next adventure.
You may not be sure how to start the process of finding a photographer or how to choose a photographer in your area. Google can be your friend to try and find a local photographer, but I recommend taking a couple of extra steps before picking one. Select two or three photographers and check their websites to see if you like their style of photography, determine if they shoot at a location you want (like the coast, on a hiking trail, urban setting, etc.), then look at their pricing packages. Once you have decided on a couple of photographers, I recommend scheduling a quick call to make sure you like the photographer. It is important to have a good rapport with the photographer so the student feels comfortable with the process.
When I work with seniors, I encourage them to bring personal items like a skateboard, musical instrument, etc. something that is meaningful for them and portrays this time of their life. Also, I ask them to bring their favorite shirt or hat to change into to get a couple of different pictures. Let’s get the photos they will love and images their parents will love, even if they aren’t the same photo.
I can help capture this special moment for you to remember for years to come. From traditional headshots for the yearbook to fun pictures that highlight the personality of the senior. As an adult I love looking back at my yearbook and remembering the good times.
For the parents, I invite them to join in for a special photo with their senior. It’s an opportunity for all to remember the special time. Capturing the moment in time for them and their child. These also make great gifts for grandparents and for the senior.
We have some beautiful areas in the PNW from Vancouver to the Oregon Coast. From hiking to chilling on the sand, I’ve got you covered! Interested in scheduling a consultation to discuss your photo session? I would love to hear from you.
#seniorportraits #seniorpictures #classof2022 #senioryear #seniors #seniorpics #highschool #photographer #portraits #seniorphotography #schoolpictures #PNW #VancouverWA #VanWA #SeasideOregon #OregonCoast #portraitphotography #portraitphotographer #modernsenior #UhaczPhotography
What is Branding?
Branding is a combination of the image and reputation of you or your company. It is what comes to mind when clients and potential clients hear your name, which includes your logo, color scheme, and if you have quality products or services. Think of Target, Starbucks, and Amazon. Each of these companies has a strong brand. You probably were able to quickly recall their logos, colors, and the quality of their products and or services.
Miriam Webster defines “brand” as:
1) a public image, reputation, or identity conceived of as something to be marketed or promoted,
2) a class of goods identified by name as the product of a single firm or manufacturer,
3) a characteristic or distinctive kind.
What is Branding Photography?
Branding photography is the taking of professional images designed to showcase your business, from headshots to products images. The images tell the story of how you solve your client’s problem(s) either through services or products. The photographs may be used on the business’s website, marketing materials, LinkedIn and other social media platforms.
Why Branding Images are Important?
In today’s world, social media plays a central role for many people to showcase their brand. Websites are also a key way for your clients and potential clients to learn more about you. Branding photos are a way to represent you and your business to those clients and future clients. It is a way to introduce yourself to them. The pictures will help you tell your story and help you stand out. It is vital to be consistent in your messaging and color scheme so the pictures match your brand.
I recently did a branding photoshoot with a local real estate agent. She wanted new headshots because it had been a few years since her last one was taken and she wanted something different. She didn’t want the old-school standard headshot but rather photos that showcased more of her personality. During our consultation call, we discussed the details about how she would use the images and what exactly she wanted to showcase. She LOVES dogs and is a fur mom of two little guys. I encouraged her to bring one to the shoot, the other guy is older and doesn’t get around very well anymore. She also loves her city and supporting local businesses. The shots we did included a few casual headshots and lifestyle images around town with and without her dog. She now has a variety of pictures to use on her website and social media.
Showcase YOU in your Business.
In 2020, with so much remote work, we learned that our pictures used in business are very important for connecting with our audience, from peers to clients. A headshot for your LinkedIn profile or website is not just a picture; it is part of your brand. It can show your confidence, your openness, or fierceness.
So what message is your headshot conveying? Does it match your brand? If not, it’s time to reevaluate your headshot.
Contact me if you are interested in learning more about branding photography and scheduling a session.
Nathan and Rebeka did not let Covid keep them from saying “I Do!” It may not have been how they originally hoped to have their wedding, but they had a lovely time celebrating their special day with a small group aboard the Portland Spirit. Their wedding shows that love is the key ingredient for your wedding day, everything else is a bonus.
The bride had her hair and makeup done by Legendary Makeup & Hair. It was soft and lovely, the perfect look for Rebekah!
A lot of couples will do a ‘first look’ photo session. It is wonderful to catch the moment the groom sees his bride for the first time in a private moment before the ceremony. Some couples prefer to have the first look moment as the bride walks down the aisle to meet her soon-to-be spouse. Nathan planned to assist Rebekah with her dress so they would not be having the traditional first look. I was able to capture the special moments of the groom helping his bride with her dress and the bride helping her groom with his final touches before the ceremony. Such an intimate moment for this couple and I’m so glad that I was able to capture that for them.
A simple ceremony took place with a best man and matron of honor standing with Nathan and Rebekah. The officiant was a close friend of the groom. Because they got married on the Portland Spirit, there wasn’t an aisle to walk down. There were some laughs and serious moments as they exchanged their vows.
As the Portland Spirit made its way down the river, the bride and groom said their vows, sealed them with a kiss, and toasted with friends and family. They enjoyed a delicious dinner, conversation, and music while toasting the bride and groom.
It was a beautiful evening! I’m so happy that I was able to capture this special day for them.
Preparing for the Day’s Outing
The weather can change fast from one part of town to another in the spring, so we knew we had to be extra prepared for the weather to change out in the gorge. We packed our water, snacks, jackets to layer, and our Discover Pass. Tip: If you don’t have a pass yet, you can stop at one of the local shops on your way out to Lyle and buy one. Just bring cash since they don’t take credit cards when buying the pass.
When I went to pack my camera gear, I was over excited and packed way too much. But in my defense, it was my first trip out to the site and I wanted to make sure I had what I needed. I mean, I had several lenses, reflectors, extra batteries, and a second camera body. Just in case! Lesson learned. Next time, I’ll just grab my Nikon D750, extra battery pack, and go!
Hiking Groups Save the Day
I guess one big reason why I never made it out to this spot before was that I had no idea where it was located. But hiking groups on social media help us track down the location. It was so easy to find once you knew where to look it was almost embarrassing. Surprisingly it isn’t far off the road but when you see some of the images, you expect a big hike in order to be rewarded with the sight. Thanks to fellow hikers who shared notes about where to pick up the trail and instructions to easily find it.
I’ve seen photos of this car in the field more than a dozen times and each image is a little different. A different angle, time of day, or cropping makes the image unique. In fact, my husband and I were both taking photos on the same day, at the same time, and we ended up with completely different images with a different feel.
The photos usually circulated with this spot is one of the pretty wildflowers and in color. When I see this car and the setting, I immediately picture it in my head in winter with brooding skies, tall grass (no wildflower), and in black/white. I am definitely coming back this fall or winter to see what kind of images I can make in a different season.
How Are You Spending Your Spring?
Did you know spring is also a great time to get updated family photos? I’m open for bookings and always up for an adventure. From the coast to the mountains, where do you want your family photos? Let’s chat about booking your photoshoot!
Your Engaged! Now What?
February is the month of love and before it ends there will be a lot of newly engaged couples. To all of you, I say congratulations! This is an exciting time, even if we are still dealing with a pandemic that is altering how we celebrate such events. For all of you happy couples, once the YES has been exclaimed you start realizing that there are a lot of questions. Hopefully, this blog will help get you started.
First things, first. Get that timeline started.
One of the first questions you will be asked once you announce your engagement is “do you have a date yet”? That is the tip of the iceberg of questions, but one that is important for planning and helping to frame your special day. Picking a date isn’t just about grabbing a calendar and randomly selecting a date–at least not for most people.
Several factors that you will want to think about to help with picking a date are 1) how big will your wedding be, 2) if you have a specific venue in mind, what is the availability, and 3) are you using an event planner to help with the planning or handling on your own.
Vendors – So many vendors, so little time
The next most frequently asked question seems to be “do you have a dress yet”? Some say the dress can set the tone of the wedding and find it helpful to at least have a general idea of the type of dress you want to guide decisions about flowers, cake, and décor at the ceremony and reception venue. Before hiring vendors, it is good to get a general idea of the style you want. With Pinterest and Google Images, it is easy to create a vision board for what you and your fiancé would like for your wedding. This helps clarify what you both want (rustic country, classic romance, or steampunk) from the venue, invitations, flowers, to table settings.
Once you have a general idea of what you want your wedding to look like and a date set, I recommend you start researching vendors and check reviews. Referrals from friends are always great when you can get them. Remember that this is your special day and just because someone gave you a referral, you don’t have to use them if you don’t click with them. Before reaching out to vendors, have a list of questions to ask ready to make sure you fully understand their pricing, scope of work, availability, and experience.
As you look at photographers for your wedding, I recommend you ask if they also do an engagement photo session. An engagement photo session is a nice way to capture your special time before the wedding while also allowing you time to work with the photographer to build a rapport making you more comfortable on your wedding day. (I still have our engagement photo on the wall and just love it!)
Planning – Going it solo or with a planner.
There are a lot of planning tools available on-line if you have decided to plan the wedding on your own, below are a couple of links I found for you. (Please note I am not endorsing any of these but merely providing resources to help you start your journey.)
The Knot: Planning Template
Zola: Planning Guide
Martha Stewart Weddings: Planning Guide
Some venues have a day-of-event coordinator. (Add that to your list of questions for the venue.) They may be a great resource for you. However, they generally do an overview and not the very detailed help with making sure all of the little details are handled and the day run smoothly. If you don’t want to ask a family member to be your day-of help with the timeline to make sure everything flows effortlessly, you can hire a day-of coordinator.
If you are looking for an event planner to help with the entire wedding or just assist with the details on the day of your wedding, you can do a Google search for your local area. Recommendations from your vendors (venue, florist, etc.) or friends is another great way to find a list of planners to choose from. (I know a great event planner if you are looking for one. She’s an accredited Certified Meeting Planner and an awesome person. Reach out if you want a referral!)
Planning a wedding, big or small, can feel overwhelming. This should be a fun time for you and your fiancé but there will be times that you need to remember to just stop and take a deep breath. Self-care is key as weddings are special and fun but can also be very stressful planning and getting up to the alter. I recall my wedding day (and all the stress planning it). The day went by so fast and it was hard to visit with everyone. To this day, I’m so happy we had an amazing photographer to capture our day. We look back at our album and photos fairly regularly and it sparks a fun memory for us. Some of our family members are no longer with us, so the photos are extra special.
#WeddingPlanning #WeddingChecklist #WeddingPhotographer #WeddingPhotos #WeddingDay #Bride #Groom#Engaged! #VancouverWA #UhaczPhotography
Communication – A Cornerstone to Successful Relationships
There are so many reasons why communication is so important, not only in marriage but when working with clients on a photoshoot. In this case, my husband was my client and we really tested the ‘for better or worse’ part of our vows! LOL! All kidding aside it was an interesting lesson. In general, we are pretty even-keeled and don’t argue but on this fateful day in November, we locked horns. Okay, not real horns but you get the idea. We were both adamant about what needed to be done and getting more frustrated with each other.
We can laugh about it now. In fact, it was my husband who suggested it as the topic for my next blog. He said it is funny now but wasn’t at the time. He has always wanted to work together on a business venture, so this was an interesting preview if we ever go down that path.
I blame fudge–yes, that’s right…fudge. Not for needing to do extra crunches but for causing the argument.
On this day we had two different visions for the photoshoot. He wanted some fun shots of his fudge to make a little recipe book. He said, “you know…just use your phone.” And, of course, if you ask me to take photos for a recipe book, I’m getting out the lights, backdrops, tripod, and my Nikon D750. Let’s do this!
We each thought the other was on the same page for the photos, but we couldn’t have been further from it.
I was busy fussing over the set-up, fixing the backdrop, moving ingredients around to balance color, etc., and of course, the lighting is critical. I was getting frustrated with the little things that can make or break a photo. Ugh…this was tough. He just wanted to have fun and be done. He wanted them to look nice but didn’t have the patience needed to get everything set up and stage the product (in this case, the fudge he made). He wanted shots of the process of the fudge being made, then cut, and final product. If you haven’t made fudge, let me tell you that it can take a while to make and then to cool enough to cut. After taking all day working on the shoot, he wasn’t having fun anymore.
Oh, the Things We Learned
No matter who you are working with, it is so important to clearly lay out the expectations and timeline. Discuss how long the shoot will take (realistic expectations) and what is needed to get the shoot done (product shoot or family sessions). If you have a 1-hour session, the clock doesn’t stop for outfit changes or moving the product around to set up a shot. If you want a specific pose, let the photographer know in advance. If you have a specific vision in mind, talk with the photographer in advance. Your vision may be for ‘light and airy’ photos but the location and time of day may not work for that and may even end up with a ‘moody’ feel. Don’t wait until the day of the shoot to communicate with your photographer. This will make your photo shoot go smoothly and be a success!
#Photograper #PortraitPhotography #VancouverWA #Communication #KeyToSuccess #PNWphotography #VancouverPhotographer #LifeLessons #UhaczPhotogaphy #FamilyPhotographer #SmallBusiness
Thankful for All of My Work Experience
Being thankful. This seems like an easy topic for November, right? Yes, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth writing about. Sometimes you need distance from a situation to get clarity. In my professional career, I’ve transitioned from one administrative position to another. All basically lateral moves to a new area. For instance, I’ve worked in a variety of departments such as marketing, attorney recruiting, and as an executive assistant/coordinator. To say I’ve learned a lot about a wide variety would be accurate. To say I’ve mastered any of these positions would be inaccurate. Don’t get me wrong, I was very good at all of these jobs. But at the end of the day, I’m a Jill of All Trades and Master of None. That didn’t bother me for a long time because I enjoy learning new things. But recently I’ve felt that it has hampered my long-term career growth. It’s great to pick up new skills, but if you always go with the flow of where you are needed you are not taking control of your own career.
But you are a photographer you say. Well yes, I’ve pivoted in that direction and all of my office skills are coming into play for running my business. I still have so much to learn but it is on my own terms. I’m driving my career boat and not floating downstream. There are many talented photographers out in the world and my skill level isn’t the same as those who have been shooting for many years. (Yet!) Is it risky to try this path–yes! Am I excited, and maybe a little nervous, about taking control of my own path–absolutely! For now, I still do freelance office work but again it is on my terms, doing the type of work that I enjoy and find to be challenging and stimulating.
Know Your Limits and Pay the Experts
I see a lot of new photographers asking in social media groups about taxes and if they should form and LLC or do sole proprietorship for their business, etc. I cannot stress enough how important it is to know your limits and to pay the experts! When I decided to go down the path of starting a photography business, I knew that I did not want to take chances of messing up any paperwork. So, I hired an attorney (Horenstein Law Group) to help me with my LLC formation and it was worth the price for the peace of mind to know it was done correctly. I also have an accountant (Shields Tax). My husband and I have used them for years for our personal taxes. Before forming my business, I met with our accountant to go over all of my tax questions. Everyone’s situation is unique and each state has different laws. Trust the experts and pay their fees. Welcome to business ownership – it takes a village.
Many photographers struggle with their own pricing and will seek input from peers. The community responds with ‘know your worth and charge for your expertise’ I say the same for taxes and legal questions! We need to support experts in their field and be willing to pay for their expertise, just as we ask our own clients to pay for our expertise. And, it is also a great networking opportunity.
How Has Networking Helped Me
So many people believe the sole goal of networking is to get clients and future work. In my opinion, that couldn’t be more wrong. Networking is meant to be an opportunity for people to meet and become referral sources for each other. That may look like paid client work or helping to spread the word about a job opening at an organization, or an opportunity to volunteer in the community. It is a two-way street.
This pivot of mine into photography has been helped tremendously by my network. I’m finding other like-minded individuals who want to support each other on their journey. I’m so lucky. I will be the first to admit I have a lot to learn in the photography business but I know I also have a lot to offer. There are many who see other photographers as competitors and do not want to help them grow. I’ve found an amazing group of ladies (Viewpoint Collaborative) who are all about lifting each other up, helping them grow, and supporting each other’s journey. It’s nice to have this group not to mention that it is great to be able to refer clients. Interested in scheduling a photo session with your newborn or do a boudoir session? I know some great ladies who specialize in those areas and have no problem referring them. Networks are important. Always be authentic and open.
At the end of the day, I’m so thankful for the road that led me here. Where will this new path take me? I’m not sure but I’m really excited for the journey!
#Photographer #PNWphotography #Portraits #VancouverWA #VancouverPhotographer #SeniorPictures #FamilyPortraits #ProfessionalDevelopment #Thankful #Network #LifeLessons #Goals #BigDreams #TakingAction #UhaczPhotography #OfficeSkills
When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. When COVID-19 cancels your wedding, you elope and have your wedding photos taken later. That is exactly what Kaelin and Dylan decided to do in the middle of March when their wedding was cancelled. I introduced you to them in my March blog post. Their original wedding date was scheduled for April 5, and was canceled due to the pandemic and shelter in place orders. They had a small window of time before the state “closed” so they decided to elope and figure out a reception once people were able to travel and gather in groups safely again.
Since the groom’s family lives in Texas and was unable to travel quickly to Washington for a micro-wedding before the shut-down, they decided an elopement was the best option. They didn’t want to leave anyone out of their special day, so even though her family was in town they kept it to a quiet elopement. The groom is in the military and had leave already scheduled, so they thought it would be best to get married while they had the time. If you have ever served, married someone who served, or have known anyone who has served, then you understand how challenging it can be to schedule leave. For the civilians out there, “leave” is vacation time and it is much harder to get the approval than a civilian job. So, they eloped and their honeymoon was a shelter in place staycation to avoid the pandemic.
They say rain on your wedding day will bring you good luck in your marriage…I can only imagine the incredible luck these two will have since they had a pandemic on their wedding day.
How They Met
Kaelin and Dylan met while she was managing an apartment complex and he was a renter. They hit it off right away and that was the start of their love story. She now works for a local dentist in their town. She’s a local Washington girl and he’s from Texas. They have the military to thank for helping them meet. They are a fun and energetic couple who loves the great outdoors and exploring the beautiful world we live in.
The Photo Shoot
We talked about rescheduling their wedding photo shoot for later in the summer when it was safer. We had no idea what life would look like so we were patient as we waited for updates about closures and restrictions. They wanted to do the photos at the original venue Island Lake Park in Poulsbo, Washington. Once we finalized the shoot date, they again kept it to just the two of them since not all of the family or bridal party would be able to travel and attend. It was a beautiful July day when we had our photo session. Being the Pacific Northwest, I had umbrellas handy just in case it decided to rain.
You can see the love they share when they look at each other. It just shines in these photos. She kept her wedding dress hidden so we could do a traditional first look. They may have already been married but the look in his face when he saw his bride all dressed up for the first time was priceless! While the family of the bride and groom were not there to share the day with them, they will always have these photos to look back on and share with their family.
This couple was so much fun! They incorporated masks and a couple of bottles of Corona into the photo shoot. They were up for being silly and romantic so their gallery of images included some piggyback rides, twirling and dipping on the dock, and a mock runaway bride series.
Summer mornings at the dock on the lake–we should have known we wouldn’t be early enough to beat the rush. It was occupied with a few fishermen when we arrived but they immediately offered to move their stuff so we could get some pictures. They were all married men and wished them many years of happiness. They occasionally shared some of their wisdom with the new groom. Umm...that was very interesting and all in fun!
At the end of the day, these two missed out on a traditional wedding and making those memories with their family. But they know they made the best decision for themselves and their families. So, while they didn’t get to experience having the bride’s father walk her down the aisle or the groom having a mother-son dance, they are all healthy and looking forward to a time they can have the family all together for a celebration.
Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Bullard! Wishing you many years of happiness and adventures together.
#TheAdventuresoftheBullards #TheBullards2020 #CovidWedding2020 #WeAreTheBullards #BullardFamily2020 #BullardFamily-Established2020 #brideandgroom #wedding #covidwedding #weddingphotos #happycouple #bride #groom #CovidCantStopUs #weddingbells #wedding2020 #marriage #lovestory #military #militaryfamily #lovestory #uhaczphotography #vancouverwa #pnw #portraitphotographer #portraits #pnwphotographer #pnwphotography #VancouverWAPhotographer #WashingtonPhotographer
There’s a New Artist in Town
This summer Seaside, Oregon has a new artist in town. Full disclosure - it’s my husband and he’s awesome. He’s new to the game of sand art but he has picked it up quickly. Less than two months ago, Kelly said to me “I want to rake the sand” and he did. I must tell you I was a little confused at first about what he meant by rake the sand. He found an image he thought would be fun to draw in the sand, then grabbed a rake, some string, and a stick and set out to create something fun for people to enjoy as they strolled down the beach. He has a talent for taking the image off his phone or paper and translating it onto an 80- or 100-foot design in the sand. Artists run in his family, though most of them are painters. Kelly loves photography and as a civil engineer he also does design (roads, etc.) so he has an eye for drawing.
Behind the Scene
It all starts with checking the tide tables to determine when low tide will be. About an hour or so before low tide he will then pack up his tools of the trade and head out. Generally, his designs take 1.5 to 2 hours to complete. Sometimes we are rushing against time to get the pictures before the tide comes in and washes it away. It has all been a learning curve with the timing and locations to get the most area to draw.
His gear now also includes an extension pole and Go Pro camera. He mounts the Go Pro on the extension pole to take the final images. At first, we used our iPhones but quickly realized we needed more height to do these drawings justice. A drone has too many restrictions, so we have decided to use the extension pole. It can extend up to 23 feet and his phone can control the Go Pro. Who knows, we may end up with a drone someday. Only time will tell.
What Kind of Sand Art
A few of the images he’s done so far include a Goonies tribute, anchor, sea turtle, and a variety of mandalas. One image in particular, the compass rose, caught the attention of Seaside, Oregon (Instagram at @SeasideOregon) and Clatsop News. Clatsop News interviewed him on August 8th and the article was posted on the 9th with several images. During the interview a passerby stopped to admire the work and was interviewed. It was a lovely article and can be found here http://clatsopnews.com/2020/08/09/new-sand-artist-shares-his-gift-on-seaside-beach/
He’s not sure how long he’ll be able to work before the weather turns bad and keeps him inside. He’s already got a few fall and holiday ideas. You can message him on Instagram or comment below for requests!
Where to Find Him
You can usually find him on the weekends down between Avenue U and the Cove. He does this for fun and to bring smiles to those who wander on by. He’s always happy to have folks stop and take photos so don’t be shy! You can follow him on Instagram at @seaside_sand_art or by searching social media for #SeasideSandArt. If you share any of your photos, feel free to use #SeasideSandArt in your post. We love seeing what you’ve captured!
We hope you enjoy your summer and have a chance to stop by Seaside, Oregon to check out his latest designs.
#GoPro #GoProPhotography #iPhonePhotography #photography #SandArt #Artist #SeasideOregon #PNW #OregonCoast #SummerFun #SeasideSandArt #SandArtist #BeachLife #PlayingInSand
As father day approaches, I’m reflecting on the time I had with my dad. We lost him to cancer in the summer of 2017. That same year, I lost one of my aunts (dad’s side) and two other friends to cancer. It was a very hard year. One that had me rethinking my priorities about life and spending time with loved ones. This is one of the reasons I decided to start my photography business, I do not want regrets later in life and I want to help create happy memories for others.
My dad served in the military. He enlisted just before the Vietnam war and spent over a decade in the service. He met my mom while stationed in San Diego, California and they had a couple of kids (I made my appearance). Then he was transferred to Norfolk, Virginia where they had another child. While there, I attended some elementary school and developed the cutest little accent, and ultimately my father was discharged from the service. We then packed up our family van and had a very adventurous road trip back to San Diego (oh - my mom was very pregnant with my youngest brother for the road trip). At the age of 15, my parents divorced and shortly after that my dad moved back to his hometown in Michigan. His mom and sisters still lived in the area. We (siblings and mom) remained in Southern California. I didn’t see much of my father after he moved. This was back in the day of long-distance phone charges and US postal mail only. No social media or free long distance calls on your cell phone (we didn’t even have cell phones!). That made staying in touch even more challenging. My dad suffered from PTSD like many other vets but didn’t get the help needed. We had a strained relationship. I’m sure a lot of children of vets can relate. It is a tough road to navigate.
Summer of 2017
After years of working on building a better relationship with my dad and step-mom, I was beginning to feel like we were on the right track. We were having fun conversations and he even opened a Facebook account a year or so earlier so we could share even more of our lives with him. I would share stories about my travels and he would comment – sometimes he would mention places he went while in the service. Growing up he never talked about his time in the service so this was something new and connected us even more.
In early July 2017, my step-mom sent an urgent text asking the kids to call my dad ASAP! They aren’t overly dramatic people so when I saw it was urgent, I knew I needed to call. It was the middle of a work day (I had an office job at the time), but I stopped working and made the call. When they said he just found out that he had stage 4 cancer it took my breath away. I was glad to be sitting down for the news. It didn’t seem real. They were going to do more testing to see if it was possible to try treatment and see how far it had spread. After a tortuous week or so, which seemed like months, we finally got the news that the cancer wasn’t treatable and they didn’t expect him to live more than six months. Somehow I just knew time wasn’t going to be on our side.
All the kids (me and my siblings) decided we need to get out to see him right away. We all felt like that we needed to see him sooner rather than later. Our arrival times staggered but we had a day that overlapped all of our travel. For one day, my dad had all five of his kids together again. That had not happened in more than 30 years for a variety of reasons. It was a precious visit with our dad and we were able to get one final photo with all of us together.
During our trip dad talked more openly about his time in the service, how the divorce from my mother impacted him, and so many other little things. I felt so close to him after my visit. And, at the same time, felt cheated because I knew I didn’t have long with him.
A couple of weeks after our visit to Michigan, I got the call that dad passed. One short month from the day I found out about his cancer and he was gone. There were so many things still to tell him! I thought I would have time to share stories about my life and travels. I was stunned and numb.
I wish I had more photos of us together, more cards and letters to re-read, and more memories of visits and laughs we shared. I’ll keep what I have close and cherish it. I’m so thankful for those memories.
Wishing all dads, a very Happy Father’s Day.
In Loving Memory
Thinking of my dad this Father’s Day. Wishing we had more time.