I read this on Yahoo! and I really wanted to highlight it here because it brought me to tears. It was literally the most touching story I had read all day. I’ll post excerpts of it here but I really do encourage you to go read the full article and to also check out Diana Kim’s blog, Homeless Paradise.
This story is about a woman named Diana Kim, a photographer in Hawaii, who grew up without her father. When she was young, her father left her family and she hadn’t heard from again. However, she remembered his studio and how he allowed her to play with the discarded disposable cameras. This created a love of photography in her and she began pursuing it, even taking a class in high school.
Fast forward to Diana as an adult and in college. She began taking pictures of the homeless community in Hawaii because she said that she identified with them. Growing up for her wasn’t easy. She lived with relatives, slept in cars, parks, and friend’s homes, so she understood the gravity of their situation.
“I gravitated towards the homeless because in some ways, I identified with their struggle,” she says. “I knew what it meant to be discarded and neglected, and to not have the stability and economic freedom I wanted.“
But as she was photographing them, she discovered her father among the homeless ones she had taken pictures of. Kim’s grandmother had informed her that her father was sick and at the time she says, she thought he was “physically sick”. She soon discovered that it was a mental illness. She talks more about the severity of his illness and then about the moment when she finally approached him. One of the most powerful and heartbreaking moments in her account.
“…After approaching him cautiously, she tapped him on the shoulder. He didn’t look up at her. “Everything felt heavy. I felt the weight of our circumstances in my heart and struggled to process what was happening. It was painful and raised so many of my childhood feelings, insecurities, and frustrations of him not being there… “The vast emptiness between us was broken by a woman who approached me and said, ‘Don’t bother, he has been standing there for days.’ A part of me wanted to scream at this woman, and the world, for being so callous. I wanted to yell that he was my father, that she was a heartless person to not care. But I realized that none of that would change the circumstances. So instead of screaming at her, I faced her and said, ‘I have to try.’”
She went on to talk about how she, along with friends and family and others, tried to get her father help whenever they could find him to which he refused each time. It wasn’t until after her father suffered a heart attack and began receiving care that they were able to begin to build a relationship.
I thought the entire story was incredibly moving and heartwarming. It goes to show the depth of human love, compassion, understanding, and forgiveness. Though we can’t change the circumstances of our lives, or even the moments that led us to who we become, we can choose to love and to forgive. Today, Diana and her father are building a beautiful relationship that she is semi-documenting through her blog.
If you have time, check out her full story here on Yahoo! and her blog, Homeless Paradise, in the link above.