James (Terry) Terrence Simko

I don’t know where to begin so I’ll just start.  I come from a “broken” home.  My biological parents were only married for a very short portion of my 38 years.  Divorce isn’t easy.  Now that I’m a married adult with children, I can understand where both parents were coming from.  It doesn’t matter anymore.  Having four parents has given me benefits and advantages in my life and relationships.  I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Terry married my mother in 1991.  He used to be a priest which is kind of hysterical.  Both his family and mine dealt with this fact better than you would have thought considering the Catholic Church frowns upon this kind of thing.  I found it handy to have an expert in the family for any theological questions.  He had a Masters in Divinity which he implied gave him all the answers.  I believed him.

Terry bought me my first camera.  He encouraged me to pursue photography.  He bought me my first medium format camera for college and my first Hasselblad when I graduated from art school.  I don’t think I would be a photographer if it had not been for him.  I definitely wouldn’t be the person I am today without him.

Grandpa was one of Terry’s favorite roles.  I’m grateful he was able to know my children.  He loved them immensely.  He wanted to buy my kids a drum set but my mom managed to prevent it from happening.  He found it hysterical that I would be driven insane by the noise.  I plan on buying it myself.  The ruckus will make me think of Terry and my boys will love it.

I often witness the first breath of life being a birth photographer.  Somehow supporting in the birth space prepared me for the death space.  It’s not too different, really.  Life is just a series of transitions made easier by those holding the space surrounding you.  I’m trying to find the beauty in the experience but grief has a funny way of controlling your mind.

Goodbye forever is never easy.  It is terrible and beautiful when you are lucky enough to have cared deeply about someone and they are gone.  The space they occupied in your heart can never be filled.  

Terry didn’t want an obituary published so I’ll leave out his date of birth and death as well as those he left behind.  This is just a story of who he was to me.

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