This photo is actually almost difficult to look at, it was taken less than a month after my father passed away. We had an extremely difficult 13 months as he hung on for life (the last 6 months on hospice). There were so many things that my son saw at 5 and 6 years old that no child should ever have to see. But he also saw how hard I advocated on my father's behalf and in effect my mother's behalf to, even if it meant calling the county sheriff to file a formal complaint against a nurse for patient abuse. Fortunately for us, most of the local hospital management remembered me from when I worked there 10 years prior. You see, I had a reputation for ALWAYS putting the patient first, even if it meant I may have to "speak" to administration for stepping on a nurse's toes due to a perceived power struggle. (Since patient care & satisfaction was always my goal & result I never received a formal reprimand or even an informal reprimand in my 7 years at the hospital for making patient care a priority). Anyhow, of course being the only child who stayed near my parents I went through the whole 13 month old ordeal at my parents' side while my siblings tended to their own lives out of state. When there were problems that my mother couldn't handle at the medical facilities, I'd get a note that my mom would be taking out my son for dinner and that I needed to sit with my father (who was in a coma). I'd go and rabble rouse at the hospital or nursing home to ensure my parent's needs were met. In the end, my son & I were at my father's bedside with my mother, when dad finally passed. I had to make the arrangements with the funeral home, and I will be forever thankful to the funeral director for his grace, compassion, and understanding at that most difficult time.
Anyhow, my mom needed a day out and she always loved the beach. One of the ONLY things that could make my mother smile during that most difficult time was my son. Not even my nieces and nephews had the same effect. Even now 2 years later, my son still has the same effect on my mother (though sometimes she acts like an 8 year old boy along with him). We were walking and exploring on a trail in the county park. They went ahead of me. I found them hiding in the grasses exploring the shoreline. They didn't know I caught up to them so I was able to get this (and a few other) photo. It was like peace after a very long ordeal.