‘I Thought He Would Die’: Daughter Documents Homeless Dad’s Life

So often we wonder whether we as individuals can really ever make a difference. Well, here’s an amazing story of how a stranger helped get this man back on his feet and how his daughter rekindled their relationship. A must read. xx Rowena

Kindness Blog

Diana is a 30-year-old O'ahu-based photographerDiana Kim was shocked to encounter her father among the homeless population she was documenting in Hawaii. Rather than turn her back on the man she barely knew, she turned her camera on him instead.

Diana is a 30-year-old O’ahu-based photographer whose love of her home, and her craft, were born from her family.

“I grew up on the island of Maui and consider the islands to be home,” said Kim. “My father owned a photography studio at one time, so my earliest introduction to photography was through him.”

But over time, Kim’s parents separated. Her father, she says, became “absent.” Kim spent years bouncing between relatives’ homes, including a few years living in parks, cars, and with friends.

“I always thought of it as ‘roughing it,’ so it didn’t really bother me,” she recalled. “My survival instincts were always strong.”

In 2003, as a student, Kim began a photo…

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18 thoughts on “‘I Thought He Would Die’: Daughter Documents Homeless Dad’s Life

  1. New Journey

    what a wonderful story, so glad it turned out for the best….how sad to find your father on a street corner, great story…thanks for playing it forward….kat…..??how you feeling????

  2. treerabold

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I have a real compassion for the homeless and have thought of photographing this population but I’m not sure how to go about it. I fear being intrusive.
    Wonderful story….very hopeful!

  3. roweeee Post author

    You’re welcome tree. Keep an eye out as I’ll be writing a post about a homeless guy I met in the city yesterday and his dog. We have a magazine called The Big Issue. Homeless people sell it to help get back on their feet. The vendors and quite well known for having a chat and sharing their stories and it’s a great way to find out a bit more what they’re going through. I had thought being homeless would be the epitome of being a lone and this is why this guy got his dog but it makes it hard for him to find accommodation. I really felt for him.

  4. roweeee Post author

    Thanks for asking, Kat. I am much better and I’m even wondering if the lungs have stopped rattling. I was quite scared there for a bit. I took cold and flu tablets for the last few days because I wanted to get to my daughter’s audition. I have written a post about it so I won’t spoil it.

  5. treerabold

    I made friends with a guy last year that is homeless and has a dog.
    He has moved onto Florida (about 12 hours from here)
    But we keep in touch.
    He has a bike with a trailer for his dog. Sadly he continues to be homeless.

  6. New Journey

    Glad that your feeling better…I was worried about you to….can’t wait to hear about the audition…now the nagging friend—stop pushing yourself so hard….!!!! My husband has COPD and he pushes himself to the end of a breath and then its days and antibiotics until he is back to baseline..please be more careful..I could feel your pain this last time you were sick….ok…friendly nagging rant over…th rant could of been worse….LOL XXXXXKat

  7. roweeee Post author

    Thanks, Kathy. It’s really2 good you understand what I’m going through because it is quite complex. You were right to be worried about me. I really was very sick and my chest was so rattly, something I’m sure you must know with your husband. I haven’t really gone to the trouble of making freshly squeezed orange juice before but Miss and I were having a glass every day to ward off the nasties. Monday was a huge day but I was feeling really good. Took a couple of cold and flu tablets but it seems that I’ve turned the corner now. Slept Tuesday. The kids had school photos today so we were doing her hem last night and digging for her good school shoes this morning. Life has sort of kick started itself again as though nothing even happened, which does feel a bit weird but I am very thankful things are going so well and I was able to take Miss to her audition. xx Ro

  8. treerabold

    I think its great you are doing that. I’ve thought of starting a blog that focuses specifically on homeless awareness. Use it to tell the stories and share photos.

  9. roweeee Post author

    That would be a great idea. Here’s a link to Australia’s “Big Issue” magazine, which you’d love: http://www.thebigissue.org.au/about-the-big-issue/about/ I also find the vendors give a sense of humanity and connection to the city streets. You can just have a chat with them and there are no barriers or boundaries and it’s been a good way for people to find out a bit about what it means to be homeless. It such a complicated area but such a need for support and encouragement! xx Ro

  10. New Journey

    Yes its so important to share those special moments….just be gentle on yourself…I know how hard it is to give in and let the illness take front seat…but like my husband its better to make it happy and be gentle than let it rear its ugly head….I am very relieved you doing better….XXkat

  11. roweeee Post author

    Thanks so much, Kat. It’s hard to get the balance right. I’ve had this auto-immune disease for about 9 years, since my daughter was born so I’ve been juggling the kids the whole way through, with help from my parents. My mum comes up one day a week and has done since Jonathon was born. Even after all this time, the kids don’t really understand that some things are difficult for me when they seem so simple and I can do so much at times. I really have quite marked dips between being well and getting sick. My lung specialist said he’s had patients like me get seriously ill and people can’t understand what’s happened. They were fine. I do try to let people know but of course if you are that sick, you’re hardly going to be going through your phone book. Thank goodness for computers and the Internet! xx Ro

  12. New Journey

    yes my heart goes out to you….I am amazed at all you handle, and you do it brilliantly..in my opinion…I feel your struggle…glad your mom is close and how wonderful of her to help…all these years…I know you have a wonderful husband…I am not sure I could do it all…I know I hear you thinking, you really don’t have an option…it has to be done… well my friend, job well done….I realize its easy for me to say go gentle and I am about 9 thousand miles away…sorry…at least we have become friends through WP….wish I could do something more that words to help you out friend…even a cup of coffee….

  13. roweeee Post author

    Well, I have a cup of tea here at the moment and the sun is shining and you heartfelt words, mean a lot to me. My wishes also go to you and your husband. It was actually quite exceptional to take my daughter into the city just the two of us and we shared a double bed at my friends’ place. Fortunately, Neither of us rolled around too much and I didn’t cough all night. I had been warned!
    Now, I need to arrange an adventure with our son. I think I might be heading back up Centrepoint very soon. Hope you are having a lovely day and thanks so much for your friendship xx Ro

  14. roweeee Post author

    Wow. Wasn’t expecting you guys to be having heat waves in Autumn. I’m off for my afternoon Nanna nap before I pick up the kids xx Ro

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