Hello, friends. It’s been a while. Unfortunately, the end of 2017 has left my heart shattered in a million pieces and I decided to take a step away from photography for a couple months.
On November 1st around 6:30am, I got a text from my mom to call her immediately. The next 10 minutes of life went by in a blur. I received the news that my daddy, John Colgan, passed away at home. The only thing I remember is collapsing in my kitchen, holding the phone, screaming “NO” while Michael tried to comfort me. To be very honest, I really don’t remember a whole lot of the next few days.
Getting from Chicago to Columbus was terrible. Michael had booked me a flight and we made our way to O’Hare airport. It was a tight timeline, but I made it through security quickly and ran to my gate. I had 15 minutes until the plane was set to depart and as I was sprinting to the gate, the attendant saw me, looked me in the eye, smiled and closed the door as I approached. I begged her to open the door and let me on. I was sobbing telling her my dad had passed away suddenly and I needed to get home. The answer was still no.
So Michael bought me another ticket on a different airline, and I made my way entirely across O’Hare airport (no easy task). I made that flight and was on my way home. My cousin, Ryan and his wife Ambur picked me up and we drove in silence to my childhood home. Seeing all the cars in the driveway, walking up those porch steps, meeting my mom and sister in the foyer….words just can’t describe those feelings. I think I was in shock at that point. There were so many people in the house. I went back to my dad’s office and just sat in his chair. Everything looked normal. His work notes, with his hand writing were sitting next to his computer. His pens, neatly lined up, ready to be used. It just felt so unreal.
Because my dad’s death was sudden (my parents were up talking until 4am the previous night, so between 4am and 6am he passed away), we decided to have an autopsy done. We actually just received final word that he passed away from a heart attack. It doesn’t really change anything, but it does provide a sense of closure.
I was home for about 2 weeks, planning and preparing the funeral, helping my mom get life insurance benefits lined up, trying to get things in order so that when I left, my mom could manage (that word doesn’t really work here…but I don’t know what else to call it…).
The funeral was on November 11th. It was a long day, but seeing how many people came to pay their respects and listening to how loved he was in so many different circles was comforting. My dad was one of the best men I have EVER known. He was kind and smart, funny and loving, the best dad and grandpa that has ever been.
My dad worked at Huntington National Bank and I have to say a special thank you to those that he worked with and the support they have given my family. From providing meals for us for many weeks, to donating airline gift cards so my mom and sister could make it to Chicago for the holidays, to providing other financial and emotional support, they have gone out of their way to help us. So thank you from the bottom of my heart, Huntington. You are an amazing company and I know my dad was so proud to work for you.
Life still doesn’t make sense. It’s been 2 months, and everyday I think about him. I miss his morning messages that would say “Good morning, sugar plumb! Have a great day!- Daddy”. Yes…he always signed his text messages…and it would make me roll my eyes, but I would give anything to have that again. I miss his laugh when the twins would do something crazy and his support when I needed advice. I miss texting in all capital letters about the Ohio State football games, or calling him, stressed out when the score got a little too close. Thanksgiving and Christmas were so sad, and my family is learning to live a new normal. There are a whole lot of “firsts” we have to get through, and I’m not looking forward to any of them. But we will survive. We will keep moving forward. That’s what my dad would have wanted.
My goal for this new year is to continue to make my daddy proud. I’m going to put 110% into making this photography business the best it can be. My dad believed in my talent and passion. He has always encouraged me to follow my dreams. So that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to treat everyone with kindness and give people the benefit of the doubt. I’m going to smile at strangers and stop to help if I see someone struggling. That’s my challenge to you, my friends. Live life with kindness, love and light. You never know when it will be taken from you. Hug those close to you a little tighter today. Love you all.
*I know these pictures aren’t professional representations of my work, but I felt this was an ok exception.
Below is the last picture I took with my dad. This was October 1st. Exactly 1 month before he passed away.