A Thousand Words


Towards the end of his life, my dad – understandably, I suppose – didn’t really want his picture taken, and his family more or less complied. This implied moratorium on paternal photos, coupled with our modern tendency to snap pictures on our phones without much thought and carry them around with us at all times, means that when I scroll through my iPhone’s camera roll, there’s a palpable sense of something missing. A lack or void, a space where my dad’s handsome face should be but isn’t.

I’ve trolled his now-defunct Facebook profile for photos without much luck – like me, he was more interested in taking pictures of things that interested him rather than of himself, preferring to be the critic rather than the subject. Again, that deep-rooted tendency means there’s a noticeable lack of recent photos, not only of him, but also of us together. And I can’t decide if this is a good or bad thing, or even if it should be characterized as one or the other.

On the one hand, this lack of recent photos means I’m somewhat forced to remember him as I’d like to – tall, handsome, strong, not sick. On the other hand, it means that this non-photographed version, which also happens to be the one I saw daily over the last month of his life, is threatening to become my default visual memory of him, and that’s not what anyone wants. It’s not what I want, at least. I don’t want to remember him as “my dad, who’s now dead.” I want to remember the living man – the unbelievably cool, devastatingly sarcastic and funny dad who shaped my life and who, if I remember the right way, still swims to the front of my consciousness and makes me smile.

The man I want to remember is right here.

Thanks to Anna for inspiring this post.






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