They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But sometimes it’s nice to learn more about what we’re looking at. Today’s story is by Jake Moomaw...
My dad introduced me to photography. When I was in second grade, he bought a Pentax K100 and taught me how to use it, the relationship between f-stop and shutter speed, and the basics of composition. Most weekends in the summer would find us up in the Rocky Mountains, shooting pictures. Those are some of my most cherished memories of childhood. My father was a Renaissance man in the truest sense: an electrical engineer, kite-maker, scrimshaw artist, mountaineer, and woodworker amongst so many other things.
On November 9th, 2009 a catastrophic stroke changed everything. The damage to his brain left him paralyzed on the right side, unable to speak, write, swallow, or do just about anything. Living a thousand miles away, I felt so helpless having to leave the hospital and fly back to Illinois. He went home with my mom a few days before Christmas with no health support at all until after the holidays. It was one of the most depressing and hopeless times we've ever been through.
Over the last two and a half years, with the help of my mom, extended family, friends and some of the best physical therapists in the state of Colorado, Dad has made some astounding progress and regained so much of his independence. He rolls six miles to the store by himself, has been tying fishing lures (one handed!) and even picked up his old K100 again and is enjoying his craft again. Mom's devotion, drive, and optimism has been just as key as Dad's determination and raw stubbornness.
This spring, my parents had a sidewalk installed in the backyard to allow Dad access to the garden. As the cement was drying, Mom scratched the words "Never Give Up" in the concrete. Three simple words that sum up their struggle so well. When I went out to visit in May, I saw the sidewalk for the first time and knew that sentence was something really special. The photo itself was such an easy thing to make but it symbolizes so much for me.
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