Four years ago today, (Kazman as some of his friends called him,) my father unexpectedly passed away. Since his death, I've had extreme difficulties talking about him, let alone sharing anything with anyone. I had brought back home with me several of his belongings, including his recorded cassette tapes, some from live radio but most of it is his own work, his guitar and all his picks, and his written words. He liked to write down his songs on paper, some songs are from the Rolling Stones, The Cure, Elvis, etc; but he wrote a lot of his own songs too. He was a true musician. And a very talented one at that.
We weren't on good terms towards the end of his life. So, I inevitably regretted this. I still do. I think that's why I have a tough time speaking or writing about my dad, because it didn't just hurt me to the core, amongst other predicaments like my entire family and I's estrangement, but because I never got to say goodbye. Ever hear the question of what's worse; watching someone you love die a slow and painful death, or a sudden, unexpected one? It's the latter, trust me. I lost my mother to cancer and it was just as heart-breaking, but the worst is not ever being able to say what you wanted to say. With my mother I was able to do this. I told her I loved her before she went, and knowing she heard me, it brought me a little bit of peace. Of course, I know my father loved me. We had a special bond before it all went to hell. And I will always have to carry this with me. I will always be wishing to tell him all of things I couldn't have told him, being the only one that actually mattered, is that I loved him. Deeply.
Since four years ago, I haven't taken his guitar out of its jacket. Nor have I ever even opened the box of tapes or really took the time to look through his work. It's not that I never wanted to, it's because I never could. It was far too painful to see. Alas, I felt compelled to finally see everything today because I strongly believe it's part of the grieving process. And it's a forever one. Anyone that tells you a loss will one day not hurt anymore is full of shit. They don't know what they're talking about. When you lose someone you truly loved, you can never regain that love back, the loss will remain with you forever. As a photographer, I also felt the urge to photograph some of his most cherished parts of him, which was his words and music. I wanted to share with you another piece of me, of where I come from because with all that's going on in the world right now, which is something I have to acknowledge, I've always believed in spreading stories of love, hope & strength can not only inspire someone, but perhaps, change their perspective, and in turn, change their hearts.
As part of my grieving process, I think breaking through people, things, even sentiments you may fear, can only help you. At least you're facing these fears. You might cry, you might get down, you might even get really angry. But this is all part of grief. So, I shed a few tears when documenting this, but it was a beautiful, moving experience. I felt closer to him. Instantly. And felt better than I imagined I would.
This is the last photograph I ever took of my dad. Of course, he was playing the guitar. And it's the same one I have with me. I grew up listening to him play, mostly blues and some rock, but I was utterly fascinated with his ability to play. He was really that great. Even self-taught. I tried to persuade him into making a demo, but he never took his music seriously. It was something he just truly loved to do. An enjoyment and creative outlet no one could ever take away from him. Tell me, how many times has music saved your life? Music has always been like food or art to me, something I can't live without. And it has many times, pulled me out of the gutter and back into place. Stronger. Better.
The pen is mightier than the sword. And so is music, art, and love. LOVE.
I know there's so many people in the world who are feeling the way I feel right now. And I'm sure it feels like no matter what you say or do, it won't really make a difference anyway. But it will. Because the more and more people stand up and tell their stories, the more we can understand one another and be united. Because without knowing, there is fear. And without fear, there is knowing. So I ask you today, in honor of my father, keep sharing your lives and stories. I don't care what or who you are. If you're the color purple like Barney the Dinosaur, it doesn't matter to me. What matters is to treat people with patience, kindness and fairness. If you're not hurting anyone or yourself, I love you. Do it for those who no longer have their loved ones around to hug tight and tell them how much we love and care for them. Because we'll be wishing for this until our dying day. Let's stop the miscommunication and get talking, people. If you haven't talked to someone you loved in a while, pick up the phone and check to see how they're doing. You never know how much this might mean to a person. Potentially, even saving them. Love. Love. Love. Just always, love. Until next time, L-O-V-E, LOVE. ❤️❤️❤️