Sunday, April 4, 2010

We Are A Part of Everyone We Meet

Three years ago, late one December afternoon, my dad and I were sitting in his study. We were having a nice talk – and a nice time. I looked at him and thought: He looks so happy. The light is just right. I should take a picture - because it might be the last good picture I ever take of him. He was fading.

I thought about taking the picture for about 10 minutes, holding back some tears – thinking about what it would be like not to have him around, after having him around for 88 years - as my dad, and later on in life as the first-pass editor for most of my books. (He was a great editor.)

I finally asked him if I could take a shot. He said sure, with a smile and nod. He knew what I was thinking. I asked him to look out the window, and I took a single shot.

My dad, 91, died suddenly and peacefully and quickly on April 3, 2010. A few hours before, on the other side of the country, I had a dream about him: He had pushed his walker aside and was standing up straight. I had not dreamed about him for at least 20 years. Hummm....

Sure, I am very sad. I get waves of tears. I will miss him more than he probably ever realized. He was my dad, a very big part of my life – in fact, half the reason for my life. :-)

Those of you who know me know I enjoy quotes. Here is my favorite: "We are a part of everyone we meet." Want proof? My dad, Robert M. Sammon, Sr., was a photographer, getting me started, along with my mother, in photography with his cameras and basement darkroom. But more important, he was a good dad - which I try to be. Everyday. I am very glad we met.

You might want to keep that quote in mind when you meet people. I sure do. You may have more of an impact on someone than you realize.

Rick
Proud son of Robert M. Sammon, Sr.







45 comments:

Tim V. said...

How very inspirational. I'm sure your dad would be very proud to read that. Thank you so much for sharing a part of yourself with us!

Mike Braaten said...

Sorry for your loss Rick.

Also, Thank you for sharing that thought. We just lost a close friend recently and were reminded how important it is to "make" memories of them.

Mathieu said...

Please accept my condolences Rick. Looking at him and looking at the kind of man you are, I'm sure your father was a great person. Be courageous.

sirfishalot said...

Rick,
My sincere condolences to you and your family. I'm sure your Dad was awfully proud of the great son that he raised.
"Those who lived in our hearts are never really gone.
As long as we keep them with us, in our hearts and our thoughts, they will be with us always. For love, which is timeless, never ceases to exist." S.E. McNaughton

Jay Taylor (aka Sirfishalot)

Sunny Archibald said...

Thank you so much for sharing such a beautiful moment. I'm sorry for the loss of your dad.

Jim said...

My condolences . . God Bless.

Brandt Steinhauser said...

Sorry for your loss Rick. Thanks for sharing a beautiful moment.

Kari Quaas said...

Saw this on Twitter I think. Great post and very sorry for your loss. A good reminder that you never know when the last photo will be and you never know the impact you can make.

Blessings.

Pol said...

I am sorry for your loss. I lost my dad a little over a year ago. You are blessed to have had such a long time with him, but it is never easy when they go.
He sounds like he was a really special man. It is wonderful that you had a father you can be proud of.

Karen Johnson said...

My prayers are with you and your family. Thanks for sharing your heart.

Gail G said...

Rick,
I attended your afternoon presentation in Seattle on Saturday (yesterday) and it was so inspiring for my photography. I'm sorry to hear of the loss of your father. My father died two years ago at age 87 and I know how important those memories are. My sympathies.

Kristian Kittelsaa said...

I am sorry for your loss Rick! Our parents have always been there for us, and leave a big hole when they depart. The way we turn out is mostly due to their efforts, and they love us no matter what we do.

Late last year, my father had to have surgery due to angina, and it made me think of him in a different way. To me, he's always been the strong, loving man who would help me when I needed help, and to see him lying there unable to do much was painful. We love our parents, and only wish to keep them around forever, even though we know we will outlive them.

You have, yet again inspired me Rick! I wish to be able to do a portrait of both my parents before they go, in order to have something to seek comfort in when they are gone.

May your father rest in peace, and may you carry his name, and legacy with pride!

Jonathan Marks said...

Such poignant and touching thoughts shared on the loss of your father Rick! May his passing be a joyful time of reflection, a celebration of your time together, and the reason you hug your son just a bit tighter the next time you see him. Condolences kind sir. . .

Christopher Stampar said...

Rick, I am very sorry for your loss and you and your family are in my thoughts. You are a really great person, and its obvious where you got that from. I hope you're doing ok, and thank you for sharing this personal moment with everyone.

Best,

Chris :)

aLohaTim said...

No better complement than being proud of your Dad.

Stewart said...

Sorry to hear about your loss, Rick. Your last photo of your Dad is perfect. Thanks for sharing, your life, art and gift.

andy katz said...

Hi Rick
Kayla told me the sad news I am so sorry. I am with my 101 year old father and your beautiful writing about your father helps me appreciate the time with my Dad. Hang in there my friend and call me any time
Peace
Andy Katz

Neophyte said...

sorry for the loss Rick.

Liz Russell said...

What an inspiration your father was and what a great legacy he has left you, which you are passing on to us thank you for this post it made me appreciate mu father more even though he died 10 years ago. My condolences to you. Liz Russell

Carolyn Fox said...

Rick, I was very sorry to hear of the loss of your dad. I'm sure he was very proud of the man you've become and I can tell by your books, that you were proud of him and very close to him. It's always difficult to lose those we love and it's not something you ever really get over; it just gets easier over time. My blog today is dedicated to you and your dad. I hope it brings some comfort to you and your family. God bless.

Dalle said...

Thank you for sharing your story with me. My condolences to you.

I have also lost my dad some years ago, and he was also a very good photographer.
In my grief I found my interest in photography again.

There is a saying that when you enter this world you cry and everyone else is laughing, and when you leave this world you will smile and everyone else will be crying. I believe that is a wonderful description of how we are going to lead our life.

ianfurniss said...

Sorry to hear of your loss, my condolences

Steve Stanger said...

Rick - So sorry for your loss. Thank you for writing this article, it was very touching. Also a reminder not to take the time we have with loved ones for granted.

Sharon said...

Rick, I am sorry for your loss. Looks like he raised a pretty good "kid." :)

Kevin said...

Ditto

Jim said...

Rick,
Thank you so much for sharing this. It's obvious now where you get your strength of character. I will continue to hold you and your family up in prayer.

Samantha Decker said...

Rick,
I'm so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute to your father this is; I'm getting misty-eyed and I've never even met you or your father! Photography is a great way for us to capture memories - I love that picture you took of him in December and the story behind it.

Alan Kesselhaut said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. It brings back good memories of my Dad. Thanks for sharing with your photo family.

Jaime said...

Please accept my condolences Rick.

Tom McKean said...

My sincere condolences to you and your family. And thank you for sharing your thoughts about what a wonderful man your father was. I'm sure your Dad was awfully proud of the great son that he raised.

As long as we keep them with us, in our hearts and our thoughts, they will be with us always. For love, which is timeless, never ceases to exist.

Dennis said...

“Life is too important to be taken seriously.”

Oscar Wilde

My father passed away too early and has been gone for nearly half of my life. But he showed me in how he lived the wisdom of Wilde's words. I see them in your podcasts and blog, which brings back fond memories. Thank you for sharing with us!

Ken Toney said...

Rick, your family is in our prayers.

Eva Were said...

Oh wow. I am so sorry Rick and what a beautiful story and pictures. May he rest in peace.

hffast said...

Rick, My sincere condolences to you and your family! What a beautiful photograph of your father and touching story! I was in both of your classes Saturday and what a professional you are giving us your usual 110% attention especially under the circumstances! May your memories give you strength and bring a smile to your heart. Thank you for everything you do for us! ~~~ Helen

Linda said...

Please accept my condolences on the loss of your Dad. He must have been a very special man because he raised you to be one as well!

Keith Bennett said...

Extraordinary post!! Thankyou. Please post again on Father's Day so we all may reflect.

Rick Sammon said...

Thank you all for your kind words and warm thoughts. My family and I sure do appreciate them.- Rick

Meedo Taha said...

My heartfelt condolences. Your work is an inspiration, and your father's warmth shines through your portraits.

John said...

Rick!
I am so sorry to read of your loss.
Please accept my condolences to you and your family.

Your post is wonderful fitting tribute to a man who must have been very proud of his son

The words and picture brought a lump to my throat as I remembered my Dad, he to was a special person.

Good luck for the future

shoeless_LindaB said...

My thoughts are with you Rick and, having lost my "Daddy" just 5 days before Christmas, some are sadly my thoughts as well. Your reminiscence of that last photo echoed mine in an eerily close fashion.

At Thanksgiving I spotted my Dad sitting alone in another room, away from the family chaos, thumbing through one of my magazines and enjoying a quiet moment. He, too, looked so happy and well and the lighting from a nearby window was absolutely perfect. I grabbed my camera and captured a wonderful photo of him, in fact my favorite ever. He humored me, as he often did, with a feigned frown when he realized I'd taken it. Little did I know it would be my last and I never got the chance to share it with him.

Bless you and yours and thank you Rick, for making your Dad and your story part of me, proving we can even be a part of those we have never met...

Allan Jackson said...

Rick, my profoundest sympathies. I know exactly how you're feeling, having lost my mom a few weeks ago. They say it gets better with time but I don't know that yet.

I hope you get some consolation from that last photo. I had many opportunities but was more interested in other subjects, rather than the ones closest to home. The lesson is clear; shoot a loved one today. You really might not get another opportunity.

Andy Garcia said...

It is said that as a father we have the opportunity to reflect to our children what God is like. I was blessed to have a father that taught me, by example, of what God really is to us. Sounds like your dad was such a blessing to you. I know how you must miss him Rick, I too miss mine.

Thanks for all you share in so many ways. As a photography enthusiast, I have also learned a lot from you. Hope to meet you someday.

Take care, and God bless!

Andy Garcia

Anonymous said...

Amen!!!

Many Blessings,

Tina Stearns

Puggle said...

Rick, I feel so honored that you share such personal thoughts about your family and relationships.

My heartfelt sympathy goes out to you and your family.

I completely relate to your post. My dad is in his 80's now, and we are closer than ever. He's still an active artist and happy then ever, but I know these are twilight years.

I am thankful for them, and thank you for reminding us all how precious our loved ones are.

Ivan (muggle1)

JimmyD said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings of your dad. We as dads should really take note to the impact our dads have had on us and realize that we, too, can have the same on our kids. It would appear your dad's ability to do that has been passed down Rick. Well done!