Saturday, April 25, 2009

My Father ...

That title makes me think of Judy Collin's lyrics her song of the same name:

"My father always promised us
That we would live in France"

And even though - as the song continues - we lived in Ohio then, there were no promises of living in France. I think my father saw enough outside the United States while serving as a Navy photographer in WWII.

You must think I learned my trade from him, but I didn't .. not intentionally, at any rate. I actually started photography in 2003 and only saw my father on once-a-year visits. He was very proud, which was something I had tried to achieve my whole life.

We had a head-butting relationship most of my child- and teen-hood. I was as stubborn as him and because I didn't think I could make him proud, I purposely did things to annoy him. I will say, though, that we mended our relationship when I finally matured and he mellowed out.

In February of 2007, my husband and I went to Cleveland, Ohio to visit my father who was near death. Every day and every hour, someone from the family was rubbing his head or his feet because touch was the only thing that made him feel better. He passed away a few months later with his whole family around his bedside, including my mother who, although they had been divorced for over 25 years, had grown to love him as a friend.

When he passed away, all I could think was why did I never ask his advice? Why didn't I want to absorb his knowledge? Not sure what the answers are, but it's the big regret of my life.

Something that stuck with me from Sociology class in college was that some people who are never touched in their lives - people who are alone and have no one - eventually begin to think that they don't exist.

These photos are taken by me and I think capture everything about him - his joy at being with family, his love of photography, his sense of humor, and the comfort he felt in the end.

The photo where little hands rub his head is titled "In the End, We Ease the Pain..."