Walter, Detroit Tigers #1 fan...may he rest in peace
As photographers we sometimes forget what our photos can mean to people. We may win awards, have our work exhibited on gallery or museum walls, see our photos featured on the web, or even have a book published, but if even one of our photos makes a difference in someone's life, that is what it's all about. Thanks to a loving daughter named Denise I now know how the pictures posted above touched lives in ways I could never have imagined.
Let me share with you the email Denise sent me on Thursday:
Hope this email finds you well. Don't know if you remember me but you took some wonderful pictures of my Dad, Brother and family at the Tiger Game September, 2011. I wanted to let you know that sadly my Dad passed away this past Mothers Day, 2 weeks before his 93rd Birthday.
He had to start emergency kidney dialysis after a procedure last Nov 2011. He made a miraculous recovery and was in the hospital/in patient rehab until mid Dec. He came to live with me and my family and was progressing until Feb. Then in March 2012 he was readmitted to the hospital due to a rapid heart rate and overall weakened condition. At that time the doctors found a massive lung infection that had been weakening his heart along with the dialysis. My Dad fought so hard to get well and always seemed to bounce back. He made it through another 7 weeks in the hospital and remained fairly stable. He was discharged the begin of May to a skilled nursing/rehabilitation facility to get stronger and have some additional skilled care. The plan was to have him come back and live with me and my family in about 4-6 weeks. Unfortunately he was only there 12 days when his heart stopped.
My Dad was such a big part of my life and I miss him terribly but was blessed to have him with me for so many years. Its been hard for me to watch the Tiger Games because I miss sharing that with my Dad. He was their #1 fan and would have been so excited they made it to the World Series this year.
I wanted to contact you many times to somehow let you know that the pictures you took at the game ended up being more precious than you could imagine. They were taped up in every hospital room and rehab facility that my Dad was in the past year. He pulled through his darkest moments looking at those pictures and sharing their story with staff and doctors. I've posted those pictures on facebook; made prints of them to give as gifts and took one with me to the final playoff game last week to honor my Dads memory. I wanted you to know that your pictures of my Dad and family were a gift far more precious than words could ever convey. Always remember my Dad's smile.
Thanks so much from the bottom of my heart, Denise (Walter's daughter)
How grateful I am to Denise for sharing with me the story of her Dad's last months. Even though I only spent a few hours with Walter, his two sons, son-in-law (Denise's husband), grandson (Denise's son), and daughter-in-law, that man's joyful, loving spirit will always stay with me. Maybe my photos touched Walter but just being in his presence was a privilege. Don't worry, Denise, I will never forget your Dad's smile.