When Diana Kim was little, her parents separated. After they split up, Diana saw her father only a handful of times. Over the years, it got to the point where Diana hadn’t seen her father in years. When she was 30-years-old, she was a law student and a successful photographer. She was married, and she had two children of her own. She always wondered if things with her father could have been different. She always wondered where he was, and if he ever thought about her. Her father left when she was a baby. Years later she learns the truth.
Diana loved taking photos. She took a special interest in the homeless population in her community on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Her photographs showed the issues that these people faced while living on the streets. She understood how difficult life could be for the homeless and she wanted the world to see it through her eyes. She never expected this project would change her life the way that it did.
The Corner Of the Intersection
Diana was at the corner of a busy intersection looking for subjects to photograph. She saw a man that day, and she couldn’t shake the feeling that she knew him from somewhere. She couldn’t place the man, but she was sure that she knew him from somewhere. Finally, she realized where she knew him from, and it stopped her in her track. The man was her long lost father.
He Wasn’t Well
When Diana saw her father, it broke her heart. It was clear that he had been on the streets for a while and he wasn’t well. He was very thin and unwashed. He didn’t even recognize her. She tried to talk to him, but it didn’t work. One day, a woman walked over to her and told her not to bother with her father. The woman told Diana that her father had been standing on the corner for days. Diana wasn’t going to give up. For two years, she tried to talk to her father. She refused to give up on him.
During Diana’s time trying to reconnect with her father, she discovered that he had schizophrenia. There were times that she would see him fighting with someone who wasn’t there. He was very ill, and Diana had no idea if she would ever reconnect with her father. She knew more than ever that he needed help.
A Small Breakthrough
Little by little, Diana was making progress. Finally, her father recognized her. He apologized to Diana for not being in her life. He told her that he was happy that she had a family of her own and that she should try to do better for them than he did with her. Finally, she was able to forgive her father. She thought that it would be up to her to try to start a relationship with her homeless father. It wasn’t going to be easy, but it would be worth it.
Shortly after she made a breakthrough with her father, Diane got bad news. She found out that her father had a heart attack and he was in the hospital. She was devastated. She went to the hospital to see him, and the doctor told her that he would be alright. They also told her that they had him on medication to treat his schizophrenia.
A Blessing In Disguise
Diane’s father’s heart attack turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Finally, he was hospitalized, and he could get the treatment that he needed for his mental illness. She knew that the process would be long and difficult, but if he was willing to stay on his medication, he could have a long and happy life.
The Phone Call
About two months after her father’s heart attack, Diane got a phone call from an unknown number. It was her father. He wanted to meet her for coffee. Diane couldn’t believe what she was hearing. He was lucid, and he knew who she was. This was what she had been waiting for. The two met for coffee, and they stayed in touch after. She decided to let all of her regrets and anger from the past go, and it was as though she was meeting her father for the first time.
A New Life
Because Diane’s father got the mental health treatment that he needed, he was able to start his life again. He started looking for a job, a place to live, and he is even planning a trip to South Korea to visit his family members and friends He has a new lease on life and Diana uses her photos to let the world know how difficult things can be for the homeless and mentally ill. She is now an advocate for people like her father because she knows first hand how just a little bit of help can turn a person’s who world around. While she shares her stories through photography, she and her father have developed a very strong bond.