☎️ Memoir Monday: The Wake Up Call / by KSimon Photography

Good Monday morning loves! 💜

I started the Memoir Monday: Diary of a Photography Business Owner blog series exactly one year ago to share my personal trials, triumphs, and lessons learned from being an entrepreneur. It is my hope that the series will inspire people who desire to be a professional photographer and/or run their own business, other entrepreneurs, and anyone else who could enjoy or benefit from the information I share.

After having a rough past year (I will save this for a future blog post 😉), I finally have a chance to continue this blog series. Yay!

Today’s post took a long time for me to write about. It is very personal, about a difficult time in my life that I’m still struggling to fully come to grips with, and has changed my life forever.

Headshot of Founder & CEO, KSimon Photography | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC

☎️ THE CALL

It was the morning of Thursday, May 24, 2012.

I was working at an information technology firm analyzing software vulnerabilities for remediation when my cell phone rang. It was my Mom calling.

My heart felt like it had dropped into my stomach. My Mom never calls me at work. Before even answering the call, I knew something was wrong…terribly wrong.

I took a deep breath and answered my phone. My Mom’s voice sounded like I have never heard before. She could barely speak words. Completely distraught and out of it, she managed to tell me that my father had to have emergency open heart surgery the next morning.

Oh my God! I couldn’t believe this was happening. I ended the call telling my Mom that I was on my way home.

At that moment, time seemed to slow down and nothing mattered to me but my family. I love them so dearly! Nothing…else…mattered…but them - not myself, food, money, my job, the current conversation my teammates were having, my schedule that day and the rest of the week (and the rest of the year and beyond that), what time it was, what the weather was like outside, and so on. NOTHING ELSE.

I then burst into tears at my desk in shock. There’s no crying in business, right!? My business hat was off at that point! Like I said, nothing else mattered but my family. My teammates were awesome people and came running over to make sure I was okay.

It felt like I was having a horrible nightmare. Well, this was really happening and I would never be the same.

After pulling myself together, my thoughts started racing: I have to get home now! I have to leave work now! I have to get out of here now! Oh my God! I’m so far away from home! What’s the fastest way to get home!?!? I can’t get home fast enough!!! I have to get home to see my Dad now!!! NOW!!!!!!!!!

I dropped everything without thinking twice about it. About two hours later, I was on the next flight out of Dallas headed home.

☎️ THE OPERATION

The next morning, I watched my father being escorted on a hospital bed into the operating room to have quadruple bypass surgery on his heart. His coronary arteries were 99% blocked. I still cannot wrap my brain around this! How was my Dad able to survive!? God is so amazing!!!

Words cannot express how hard it was seeing him in the hospital. I had been so used to seeing my father very healthy, strong, and full of energy my entire life. He’s usually up and about, sharing wisdom, laughing, joking around, and helping others. I was still in disbelief.

I remember how my Mom and Dad looked at each other right before he headed to the operating room. It was true love like I had never seen before, and I will never forget that moment. I’m so glad my sister and I were there to comfort my mother and support my father.

Memoir Monday Photo for KSimon Photography | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC

That was the longest day of my life. Eternities seemed to have passed by, and then the operation was finally over. When my Mom, sister, and I were allowed to see my Dad in the intensive care unit, he looked so different. He looked so cold and ill. He looked like he was not alive. But through prayers and faith, he started coming around as the hours went by.

I remember at one point my father opened his eyes while I was sitting at his bedside. I told him, “Dad, you did really good!” Then he looked at me, nodded his head “yes”, and went back to sleep. I could literally see my Dad’s strength in his eyes. Although he just had major open heart surgery, his spirit was still strong and vibrant as I have always seen in him - even more so than ever before. And I knew he was going to be okay. Tears come to my eyes every time I recall this.

Before I knew it, my Dad was up walking around the hospital! It was amazing how fast he was recovering. A miracle was unfolding right in front of my eyes. I was so happy to escort him around! It’s the little things that are so important in life!

Memoir Monday Photo for KSimon Photography | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC

☎️ THE RECOVERY

Four days later, my Dad was released from the hospital and returned home to complete his recovery.

Memoir Monday Photo for KSimon Photography | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC

After he fully recovered, I photographed my Dad to celebrate him. He’s worked so hard to give my family and I the best life possible. He is the best father and strongest man I know.

Fashion Photo of Distinguished Gentleman | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC
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My father instilled his love for photography in me when I was a little kid. He took the photo of me below (on the left) using film when I was six years old. And yes, he shoots with Canon (Team Canon! Whoop! Lol!). It’s no wonder that I’m so passionate about photography!

Fashion Photo of Distinguished Gentleman | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC

Although he’s had a tough recovery process including several lifestyle changes that he must manage on a daily basis due to the operation, he’s back to being up and about, sharing wisdom, laughing, joking around, and helping others. He always tells me these simple yet powerful words, “Keep looking up.” I apply this everyday and will never forget his words.

My dear Mom - I could not have been blessed with a better mother. She’s such a wonderful soul and PHENOMENAL woman! Thank you for your unconditional love and wisdom (including all of our late night phone conversations 😁).

Headshot of Lovely Woman | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC

My amazing sister (a loving wife, devoted mother, and successful entrepreneur) has always made sure I’m okay. She continues to set the bar high for me and encourages me daily to keep achieving my goals.

Fashion Headshot of Beautiful Woman | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC

And so, here I am - taking life by the horns one day at time. I’m so grateful to God for my supportive family, friends and clients. Love you guys to pieces! Many thanks to the wonderful doctors and nursing staff at DCH Regional Medical Center for saving my Dad!

I’m also thankful for all my trials and triumphs - especially the trials. Why? Because that’s where the growth is. That’s where you will find out who you really are. No pain, no gain!

Fashion Headshots of Founder & CEO, KSimon Photography | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC

☎️ LESSONS LEARNED

This experience took my family and I through a lot but I learned and gained so much from it. It has helped shape the person I am today and led me to starting my professional photography business the following year.

  • Many people don’t know how blocked their arteries are. Plaque (calcium, fat, cholesterol, cellular waste, etc.) can build up in arteries over time due to aging. This means you can exercise and have a healthy diet but plaque can still build up in your arteries as you become older. Consider having calcium scoring completed to detect early signs of artery blockage. Calcium scoring can be performed by a cardiologist and is a noninvasive procedure that detects the presence, location and extent of calcified plaque in the coronary arteries (the vessels that supply oxygen-containing blood to the heart). This procedure is usually not recommended as preventive care, so you will need to ask your doctor for it if this is the case. Men should consider having this procedure proactively at about age 35 and women at about age 45. Early detection can allow for treatment to clear artery blockage and eliminate reaching a point of needing open heart surgery.

  • Humans are creatures of habit and will typically continue on the same path even if it causes them extreme pain and unhappiness. Don’t be afraid to break out of the norm. Step outside of your comfort zone. You’ll discover your greatness there.

  • What happened to my Dad changed my life forever - it was my wake up call. It made me realize just how precious and short life is. I had been taking my own life for granted, settling for the same routine of just getting up and going to work everyday, and holding myself back from going after my dreams. But thankfully, I woke up.

  • If you haven’t yet, discover YOU. Save your own life. As Les Brown says, “You are greater than your circumstances. You are stronger than you can ever imagine. Say “yes” to your dreams!” Achieve your potential!

  • Don’t take the seemingly little things in your life for granted. Those little things are really big things in actuality. Always remain gracious.

  • Find your purpose. Live your dreams. Don’t keep putting it off. DO IT NOW.

  • Keep this in mind: Tomorrow is not promised. How much time do you have left?

I will leave with you today one of my favorite videos. I hope it helps you put things into perspective in your life as it has for me.


ARE YOU AWAKE YET?

I’d love to hear from you! Have you had your wake up call? Where are you in your life journey? Feel free to leave a comment below or shoot me an email!

Stay blessed, beautiful, and inspired to live your purpose!

XOXO,

Kimberly 😘

📷 Atlanta + Dallas Lifestyle, Fashion, & Business Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer