Ever since my dad passed away March of 2014, March has been a tough month for me emotionally. Each March, I try to keep things together, and I've found the best way to deal with it is to drown myself with a non-stop waterboarding of work, so that I don't have a chance to come up for air and think about how f*cking sad I am.
A close encounter with death is often the defibrillator shock that jolts us back to life from the robotic 9-to-5 zombies that the everyday grind of life can reduce us to. The people in my life who have the most "life" in them - my mom, my friends Nicole Palma (www.facebook.com/nicolepalmamodeling) and Nadia Bodkin (www.edsers.com), and my tech Lisa at work - are the ones who've had to stare death in its ugly face - whether it be due to a horrible disease such as cancer or Ehler Danlos Syndrome (EDS) or watching a loved one being taken too early.
Something about being faced with one's mortality puts everything in proper perspective. Things that used to bother me seem trivial now. The only people that matter are the people that love you and support you. I have no time for the haters, the users, and the abusers I used to put up with. Life is TOO short for that BS.
Soon after my dad's passing, I scrambled to find all the photos of my dad - some hidden in photo albums in the attic, others in old, old boxes in the basement. I stayed up late, some nights completely without sleep, and scanned the photos - 892 photos in all - into my computer, and backed them up on 2 externals and no less than 5 (yes, five) separate cloud services. These 892 photos captured the life of my father, one of the most caring and genuinely kind-hearted people I've had the privilege of living alongside for 25 years of my life.
We take photos when we are the happiest, best versions of ourselves - at a party, on a vacation, or celebrating a special occasion.
All I need to do when I'm having a rough day is to look at a couple photos to remind me how lucky I am to be alive and afforded the opportunity to do what I love every single day, as a pharmacist and as a photographer.
Looking at photos and taking photos is therapy that calms, soothes, and focuses you on the moment we call life - it is visual meditation.
When my friend Nadia approached me to collaborate with her to help her raise money for her foundation (EDSers United, www.edsers.com) and lead classes and group sessions on the power of using photography as therapy, I was all in right away.
Since she was diagnosed in 2010 with EDS (a disease that renders her in chronic pain and makes simple tasks like walking up stairs nearly impossible), Nadia has dedicated her life to making a tangible difference in the world.
Many people talk about changing the world, wanting to help find a cure for cancer, etc. Nadia actually lives and breathes that every single day.
Nadia works with CEOs of pharmaceutical companies to raise money to develop treatments for genetic diseases such as EDS and speaks at conferences such as the World Orphan Drug Congress to raise awareness and funding to develop actual treatments which can improve quality and life and potentially prolong life.
This Saturday 3/19 evening, at the beautiful Hyatt Regency in New Brunswick, NJ, Nadia and I are hosting our first EDS charity shoot. 75% of the proceeds will go directly into funding medical research. For more info, please visit and RSVP at http://www.meetup.com/PPFTMU/events/229581363/
For additional info on how to support this cause, feel free to text or call me (Eric) at 856-426-5702.
If you live in the New Brunswick area or would like to support our efforts, please donate to EDSers United via our secure donation portal at www.expressionsbyericwang.com/eds