This is a personal post for many reasons and one that I originally wrote and posted back after this trip in 2012. But I have decided to re edit the post, because what I first wrote about was a mess and I hid the truth of why and what these images really meant to me and how I hid my feelings, as I always seem to do.
So here is the truth about this road trip to the Isle of Wight.
My father had been suffering for a while now after being digonosed with Kidney Cancer back in 2011 and had battled through everything to beat it, but a few weeks before this trip he was given the news that it had continued to spread, even after the treatment and chemo, it had spread to all of his organs, spine and his brain. The time we had been told to expect had gone from months to weeks or maybe even quicker.
My father had a few things he needed to do, it was kind of like he willed himself to do these last things before he allowed himself to give up his fight, he went to see one of his sisters in Scotland, so he made the trip and spent time with her and her family and then his final wish was to go back to the island where he grew up, was born and raised, to see his brother who still lives to this day in the same house he was brought up in, the same house I spent many a summer holiday in with my Nan and Grandad before returning to see his other sister on the mainland before finally coming back home.
So I agreed to drive him to the island and back and to take him to see whoever and whatever he wants, but by the time we came to leave, he was riddled with pain, you could see it in him day by day, suffering in silence, but as stubborn as he was, he was determined to do this.
So after a quick breakfast, my father, my nephew Daniel and myself all set on this road trip to the Isle of Wight. We caught the ferry over, then drove over to the little town of Shanklin where we had booked ourselves in to a B&B by the sea for the next few days. We unpacked and headed straight on over to see my fathers brother and my uncle called Richard. We all laughed, chatted and that evening all of us went to the working mens club where so many people that I had never met, or had only ever seen when I was a young boy was there to say hello and chat. My father was honest to everyone and told them that he was suffering with Cancer, it was such a great but heart breaking evening, you could see the pain in my uncles face along with mine, that this evening was the last time we would be all sat here sharing a moment like this.
The next few days we spent visiting old places where my father and uncle grew up, places where I grew up and played as a child, places where I shared moments with my own father like you can see in some of the pictures. My father was telling me to put the camera away as I was taking so many pictures during the trip, but its also a reason I love photography so much these days, as I was capturing memories on image and days that I will never be able to re capture again, images that will stay with me forever and last a lifetime.
Over the days, you could see my father declining in health, I knew he was lying to me each day when I asked him how he was and how he felt and if he had slept, because its how he is, he never wanted to trouble anyone, he even refused to take any drugs as he never wanted to lose control or be classed as dependent, so he suffered in silence each day and in pain.
The last evening, was like the last supper for my father and my uncle, they both knew it was to be their last time together, I remember the night so well, that it makes me cry so much. When the night was over, my father as he always did, would never show his feelings, so when everyone was wanting or expecting the hugs and tears to start and with everyones emotions all over the place, my father just thanked them, shock their hands, said goodbye and walked into the night and went and sat in the car, that was to be his last goodbye to his brother.
The next day we set off back across to the main land for the 4 hour journey to see his other sister Carol, again it was such a heart breaking experience to see and watch, just the single picture of them together was their last goodbye along with the last picture i ever took of my father and him enjoying a glass of red wine and sticking his fingers up to everything. After that picture was taken, I knew that he had competed everything that he wanted to do and that his final battle was about to begin.
After the road trip was over my father slowly declined over the following weeks. I had posted this blog post originally on the 19th Nov 2012 and on the 1st of December I got that phone call I was always dreading from one of my sisters to say “you need to come home now”.
My Father passed away on the evening of the 7th Dec after a long long battle against Cancer and he now finally rests in peace.
After all of these years of being my fathers son, I learnt so many good and bad habits from him. One bad habit I learnt from him was to never show your feelings or tell people how you feel and I learnt that the hard way, as the last ever moment in time I shared with my father was just a hand shake and me saying “i’ll see you soon”. I never in my life had the strength to tell my father what he meant to me, even he could never tell me the same words and when he passed away I learnt the most painful lesson of my life and thats that I should never hide my feelings from someone you love or care about so much. As life is far to precious to live without them, without being honest to others as we only get one life, only one chance in life and should make the most of what we have.
So thats the reason I have now gone back and re written this post, been honest this time about the real reasons for the trip and for not hiding my true feeling as for the post and images, as I’m not going to hide behind my feelings anymore, I’m going to be more honest with myself and more honest towards others.
As we all know, as I know for sure, life is far to short to hide feelings.
Thanks for reading, Rob
Rob Grimes Photography is a Nottingham based photographer specialising in creative documentary wedding photography – documentary style photography that tells the story of your day along with fine art couples portraits using creative lighting techniques. Rob is available to shoot weddings, elopements, couples sessions in Nottinghamshire and throughout the UK, Europe, America and worldwide for destination sessions.
To book me or enquire then please get in touch, I’d love to hear from you.