BILL

stage four colon cancerI spent the morning with a wonderful family who are braving life with cancer together. The prognosis for someone diagnosed with stage four colon cancer is not good but the Keezer clan is making the most of the time they have left with their son, husband, father, father in love, brother, and grandfather.

His daughter in love was the one who contacted me and wrote: “Prior to his diagnosis, Bill was never sick a day in his life and has spent the last few years caring for his wife, who has CLL (Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia). They have spent the better part of a quarter century happily married and taking in life. Bill has 5 grandsons and to say they are his world would be an understatement.”

This was the first time someone reached out to me to photograph someone in home hospice care. When I arrived, Bill’s daughter in love said something that I will remember for a very long time. She shared that her father told her when faced with things you cannot do anything about, find the one small thing that you can do. Calling me was the one small thing she could do.

Bill was a man of few words, but did let everyone know that he was moving one time, and one time only, and said with a grin “I am only doing this once.” Even though he was not very talkative, his presence filled the entire house.

While aware of the limited time, they are making every moment count. Because of colon cancer, the Keezer family is choosing not to forget the joy amidst the sadness and grief. They are remaining present and embracing every moment whether sad, joyful, or mundane.

Carving out private family time is a priority but their home has been open to anyone who wants to spend time with Bill. His wife and mother, both taking turns as caretakers, created and declared the “You will not fall on our watch” rule. They are alternating staying up at night to make sure Bill is not alone and helping him in any way he needs.

In the time I was at the house, there were tears, laughter, humor, serious conversation, grief, and joy. The home was filled with life, despite cancer. When I left, Bill’s 14 year old grandson thanked me for coming. Of course I pulled out of the driveway teary eyed. Such a sweetheart.

I was honored to be invited in to their world with camera in hand and to learn their story. I left the home thinking about how precious life is and how important it is to live in the moment.

Cancer is not a one man or woman show and affects families as well. I am grateful to the Keezer family for their determination, grace, and for being such an amazing example of love in action. If you are not convinced, the images speak for themselves.

 

7 thoughts on “BILL

  1. I can’t thank you enough for these wonderful photos. As painful as it is to plan a photoshoot that you know will be the last it’s something tangible I could do for all of us.
    Thank you for Braving Life and blessing others with your gift.

  2. Thank you for the time you spent with our family. You have been a topic of discussion in our house for the last few days. You have left your stamp on our family. As well as giving us a gift so large you can never imagine. Thank you.

    • Thank you for your kind words Debbie. Spending time with your family was truly special. Sending my thoughts and wishing you all peace during this difficult time.

  3. To the Keezer-Darby family:

    This is such an awesome and unique living tribute which I will never forget. May the Lord give each of you strength during this difficult time.

Leave a Comment