I have felt the absence of my father increasingly this year. As if years of denial were being peeled away like layers of skin. Not that my father was what you might be able to find described in a greeting card. Nor the vicious abuser in a Lifetime movie. No protector provider was he, more erring on near criminal abuse and neglect. Oops! Not that made him a villain or even unlikable. Just very incapable of being a father in practical way or visceral sense. He lived long enough for me to forgive the wrongs and for me to achieve an acceptance for who he was rather than what I thought he should be. We had, in the last years of his life, a real peace about our core relationship.
He gave me the greatest opportunity to forgive and understand and to let go and get over myself. To love with unconditional surrender and to understand my own insanity. I see myself in him physically and the manias that beat him down haunt me as well.
With all the wonderful photographs online right now of fathers, I instead offer my father’s photography. He loved cameras and needed to have the latest, greatest one. He didn’t know how to use cameras very well and often left the film in until it yellowed. He wasn’t skilled in loading the film or taking a picture but his view gives me a deeper insight into him. The out of focus, off-center images reflect his mind in a real way. Fragmented and cut off subjects that should be focal point turn into distractions and the background takes over. But the subjects are what he loved best, if imperfectly. As a photographer he misses and how. Yet sometimes it works in spite of the wrong or because of it.
I miss and love you Dad.