I was given 3 months to live when I was diagnosed and 2 metastasis from stomach to bone marrow and head… well you can figure out the % when you are 87% full of cancer. Nevertheless no matter what the chances I simply couldn’t give up. The moment the doctor tells you “Sorry I can give you a rough estimate 3 months or maybe 8 with painkillers but you should make all arrangements of your life as soon as possible since your good days are now” then it hits you. Your brain goes on a state of photographic canvas. Pictures everywhere with situations, amendments, regrets, “what if’s”, Can I now?, Would I?, and so many other photos that represent a part of your life – good or bad – that you would give anything to have time to make it right or live it.
My cancer was the BEST GIFT God could ever give me. I know it sounds weird but through this process although I wasn’t expected to be the one with the good chances, I managed to get the best of it. What’s that? That is to figure out who is my best friend, my true friends – you know who I am talking about – the ones that would be with you during your worse moments.
And last but not least I managed to see life with a whole new perspective which is WHAT really made all worth it! When the miracle came and in a blink of an eye, in one night all cancer left my stomach, bone marrow, head (yes I do now believe in miracles of Holly Cross) and doctors told me “You , Jesus Christ & Alexander the Great all of you at age of 33” I replied “Yes doc but the other two died at 33, what about me?” The response was unexpected… “You get to live son, don’t know what happened, but you get to live, just go pray and thank God for this and never look back or forget”. Enough about me I guess…. that would take us many pages.
Dad… dear Dad.. I came back to Greece as an omen and didn’t want to believe it. You were always for me a rock. A hard rock even to get into and read you, get some of your endless love you had for me well hidden inside. I never could see you go like this. I was blessed enough to be sent back to Greece to be there the moment you broke into pieces. The days you were clinically dead. The moments your brain was totally with no activity. The moments I was praying for you next to you. The tears that you would leave this world without being able to actually tell you how much I loved you for bringing me in this world. The nights I spent on my knees begging for a miracle to see your eyes open and hear me tell you so many things.
And that moment, the day before the pull your plug that kept you alive, the moment they called me to announce your passing away, the nurse that said “please come he responded with his tongue”, my knees broke in 100 pieces and my eyes were full of tears. I drove to the hospital and you were there transferred from ICU to ICU when I spoke to your ears if you can hear me and you moved your leg. Dad … I cant count the moments that with every each of the you were giving me your last gifts for this world.. an amazing lesson each and every moment for the rest of my life. The moment they woke you up and you squeezed my hand, telling me that my miracle was actually true although you were never close to church. Your message from beyond the living that you were able to bring me and tell me why I got to live and survive from my battle. That was the best present you could ever bring me in this life father. I wish at that moment I knew you would pass away anyway, cause the moment you came back from the dead I thought you would live forever till you grow old. That cost me a lot father. I thought we would do things together. You would see me bringing you photos of the world as promised.
You were the one who – regardless my new hobby of photography through cancer was at its prime steps and not so good – believed in me. Every time I came with a photo in your recovery bed you looked at me in my eyes and told me “shhh don’t tell your mum, you should follow this path… is amazing”… All the moments cleaning your feet and your wounds I was honored as a son to be given this opportunity to take care of you. I embraced every and each moment of taking care of you, but what really cost me and I would give anything to be able to change was the moment I got out of your CTSCAN bed – the same bed I gave my battle – and I saw the monitor of your CTSCAN… oh Dad. Even though the doctor didn’t say anything, I could read it and never wanted to be true… I kneed down and didn’t wanna get up.. I wanted to cry and couldn’t let you see me. I had to be strong and never show weakness. Your fight now was my fight. I counted the seconds and minutes and hours and days of denial. I just simply couldn’t, please forgive me.
You know what though was the most painful? Not having you here seeing me now delivering this promise I had given you. A long time-lapse of Greece, a whole year time-lapse video Dad the way I had promised you it would be. The way I had so many times sat beside you in your recovering bed (not anymore a recovering bed after that) and was explaining you by showing you other people’s videos, how it would be. How amazing is our life if we could see it in fast mode. I know you knew it I know you were getting me, but what I couldn’t get is that you wouldn’t be here to watch it with me. Thats what really hurt me more Dad. I knew you wouldn’t be here with me. And sometimes this makes the difference.
I made it Dad, the video is done, but I didn’t do it as I expected in Mount Athos Dad. Instead I made it all over Greece, and I renamed it Greek Skies Dad. You probably are disappointed, but I have a good reason Dad. This video is even better, cause I spent a whole year alone out under Greek Skies just skies dad. You know what? No my immune suppression didn’t keep me down in bed. The cold didn’t. The heat didn’t. What kept me out there dad was you.. because you are out there Dad … up in the Greek Skies, every time I turned my camera up in the sky I was pointing at you. You made Greek Skies so much more beautiful and so much more amazing. Dad the video is you, you are the Greek Skies.
I cant type in memory of for you.. cause you never left me and never will, but I will continue what you taught me. Support every human being that gives this battle with anything I can. And this is the beginning…
You were there Dad. 365 Days, 55.000 Photos, 825 hours shooting photos, 8400 kms, 650 hours of editing, and countless hours of praying. You were there with me & you will always be.
Till we meet Dad,
source : Panos Photographia