Growing up I was fortunate that we spent time during our spring and summer breaks camping in the great outdoors. My parents loved the outdoors and every opportunity we had, we were out enjoying it. We would camp and spend lots of time hiking with some fishing thrown in. My parents have gotten old but they still love the outdoors. Unfortunately due to health issues, they can't get out and enjoy it like they would like to anymore.
My mom has Alzheimer's. She was diagnosed around 7 years ago and the MRI lead us believe it was pretty advanced at that time. But that did now slow my parents down. My dad thought it was even more important to make sure she had the chance to be outdoors. Almost weekly they would hit a wonderful state park in Kentucky. They would hike a little, have a great meal, then hike some more.
Whenever I was in town, they would make sure that we hit multiple state parks, and of course I always had my camera in hand. One of my favorite memories was a day at Cumberland Falls where we ended hiking for hours in the rain - but that's a story for another day.
Unfortunately my dad started having sciatica issues so the hiking slowed down, but they still loved the treks to the parks and a nice drive around after a meal taken by the window, enjoying the gorgeous views like these doves that were outside the window at Blue Licks State Resort. I truly believe that being able to spend all that time around nature has helped my mom tremendously through the years. Yes she has digressed, but so much much slower than expected.
I had the opportunity to visit with my parents for several days recently. The screensaver on their computer is about 150 of my photos that I shared with them. My dad told me that it's hard for him to get any work done on the computer because he sits down and watches the images rotate and before he knows it 30 minutes will have passed. He says my mom will sit in front of it for hours. Wow! That is a testimony for the power of nature images. One afternoon while I was visiting, it was just my mom and I, and we were sitting in the living room. My mom is past the point (by several years) of carrying on a normal conversation, but she insisted on sitting in her favorite chair by her favorite books. As it turned out they were books I had made especially for them with images from places we had visited together at their favorite state parks. There was also the magazine I use to share with the healthcare industry about my business and it is full of images I have taken of nature. (Many of you I have shared this magazine with, and if I have not, let me know and I'll get one in the mail to you.)
But back to my story... For the next 30 minutes she would pick up one book after another and read the little intro I made for them and then go thru all the photos and comment on each of them. She would talk about how beautiful they were and then she would sing a favorite hymn about "Look for the Beautiful". Then she would go through them again and make the same comments and sing the same song. She said every day she spends times with those "photos that Koral took". My dad confirmed that she really does and how much she enjoys it. How wonderful!
My dad, who is still her caregiver, is now in the hospital with major heart issues. I'm heading there to spend time with him and my mom and I'm taking my dad a Digital Picture Frame with my images for him to have by his bedside. I know that it will be special to him and help him during this time. I don't know if he will ever return home, but this is something I can do to help him heal and feel peace and help him have that chance. I am fortunate that long before studies were done, my parents taught the advantages of being surrounded by nature, and till the day they are no longer on this earth, I will do all I can to surround them with the images of their beloved nature. It is my passion and my mission to bring healing, calm, joy and peace thru my images of nature to everyone that I can. I am so blessed to have this gift and opportunity to do so!! I look forward to sharing my passion with you and your clients!