Photographer and law student Diana Kim`s childhood wasn`t easy. After her father left the family, she spent her early years moving from place to place, staying with friends and relatives, and even in cars and in parks.
Eventually, Kim made a good, stable life for herself, and made a home for herself in Honolulu, Hawaii, with her husband and two sons. The only thing she had left of her absent father was a love of photography or so she thought.
"I gravitated towards the homeless because in some ways I identified with their struggle," she explains. "I knew what it meant to be discarded, to be neglected, and to not have the stability and economic freedom I wanted. Overall, I understood their struggle because I struggled in the same way."
But she soon made a heartbreaking discovery.
He refused to eat, wear the new clothes she brought, or seek help. Kim didn`t know what to do, but despite his absence in her childhood, she was determined not to give up on him.
In October of 2014, Kim`s father was found lying face down on the street. Someone called an ambulance, and he was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. While that sounds like a turn for the worse, experiencing care in the hospital was a turning point for him. Kim came to visit, and the two had their first conversation in years. "I walked away feeling lighter that day," Kim says.
Slowly, Kim`s father began to improve. His schizophrenia caused him to have good and bad days, but he learned how to manage it with therapy and medication. He began to rebuild his relationship with his daughter. When she finally saw him after he`d been in treatment, looking healthy and strong, Kim wrote on her blog, "I feel like I just met my father for the first time today."