Darcy Totten - Master's: Photojournalism, 2005

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Darcy Totten

My time at UT was one of the strongest periods of change in my life. I arrived, brash and sure of myself, cigarette in one hand and large black coffee in the other, ready to take the world by storm. I thought that graduate school would merely be a stop on my way to war-torn countries and an illustrious career in my father’s footsteps. Ambition was the only thing that really pushed me. Mid-way through my first year I got a call from home… my father had cancer. Again. Suddenly I couldn’t watch a sad movie or read the newspaper. War was out of the question…I had enough to deal with.

I left school and went home to spend time with him. Eight short months later, I had to return. I can never leave anything unfinished. He was doing well with chemo and it seemed that everything would be okay. I quit smoking and stopped photographing…my heart just wasn’t in it anymore. I finished up my thesis, fell in love and took a government job, preparing to stay in Texas forever.

My father pulled every last bit of his strength together to fly into Texas in order to see me graduate. I remember looking at him over breakfast, bald from chemo and unable to eat with us because the drugs had taken away the pleasures of taste. It was the last time we all ate at a restaurant together. You never know it’s the last time until one day you realize, too late, that that was it. That day, the day I graduated, is burned into my memory as a shining example of my father’s love. The man who never missed a soccer game or a dance recital was there for me for one last accomplishment. It was the last one he would see. It was also the last I would see of Texas. As he got worse and hope started to fade, I said goodbye to my relationship and my job and returned home to be with my family. Now, in another state, with another job and a new love…it marks a fork in my life’s path.

Texas was such a special place for me. It was where I changed my career, fell in love, made bolder choices for my future and learned exactly what I was made of. It was where I learned that family is more important than any goal or ambition, that real love will always last no matter the circumstances and that I am truly blessed to have had Glenn Robert Totten as a father. Most importantly, it was where I found my home…right where I had left it so many years ago.

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