I found a place to park. It was on the street so that I wouldn’t take up any of the close spots. The neighborhood children were bouncing basketballs and riding scooters. I got out of my car and took a deep breath. Wrapping my arms around two 8×10 framed images, tied up with tape and brown packaging paper. I knocked on the door, but it was already open. I took another deep breath and walked into a friend’s home. The family, about 12 or 15 of them, was sitting around in a circle with puffy eyes, some quietly crying, some soothing those crying. Others were in the kitchen enjoying some finger foods and a ham. I sat down with the group in the living room as someone reach for a pile of pictures. There must have been 1000 of them. We split up the pile and passed it around, each person getting a stack of floppy 4×6′s. How did I find myself here?
I guess it started when I was at CDIA. Our final class was called Practicum. Basically, take your knowledge of digital imagery and multi-media and pair up with a non profit to create something that would help them. Long story short, I was paired with Teardrops to Rainbows, a local organization that provides financial support to families who have one or more children with cancer. You see, when a child gets cancer, one parent of a two parent home has to stop working for the frequency of hospital visits, and with the addition of hospital bills…well… you see where this is going. And imagine a single parent home!
One of the families was the family of Sey-J. I photographed Sey-J, who was in remission at the time. Spending an entire day with him at camp, I watched him run around, play sports, fish, play with his daddy and brother… A few weeks later I found out that Sey-J relapsed. A few months later, my dad called me to let me know that he had passed. I only knew him for a day, but I cried. And sitting around that family room with photos of Sey-J being passed round, I realized the weight of what I do.