Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Running On Empty...


My dad was 53 when he had the stroke. He'd been living in our hometown of New Bedford, and his brothers put him in a nursing home when he was released from the hospital. In the beginning he made great progress, regaining some use of his hand and arm, walking around with the aid of a cane, his speech was eassy to understand. My wife Stephanie and I decided to invite him to come live with us. Even though we had a baby on the way we had a three bedroom house so space was not an issue. We shipped some of his favorite furniture to Miami, including the velvet wing chair he always liked to sit in and catch a few winks.

Elena was born and he was thrilled to have a grand-daughter. I'm an only child. But he missed his old friends, the change of seasons, the familiar places, and he always seemed to feel like he was a burdon, an imposition, on us. After a couple of years he moved back to Massachusettes and spent the rest of his life in the nursing home.

One day I came home and noticed the afternoon sunlight coming through the kite I'd bought for Elena, my dad was fast asleep in his chair, and it was just a matter of arranging things correctly. I hung the kite on a light stand, put the Leica on a tripod, and exposed a few frames of Ektachrome, probably with that old black 85/2 Nikkor that I foolishly sold later.

He was really unable to travel alone, so after he moved back I rarely saw him except for a few days each summer. My then ex, Stephanie, took the kids to visit him on one of her trips to visit her mom just a few months before he died at age 73 about 15 years ago.

5 Comments:

Blogger KirkT said...

Now THAT is a beautiful portrait!

You are pulling out some wonderful stuff.

5:10 AM  
Anonymous Rick Waldroup said...

Al, that is one great shot. I visit here at least 3-4 times a week and enjoy reading as much as I do looking at the photos. Your friend, Rick Waldroup

11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My dad also got a stroke and was hospitalized 'til he died, at 73. It almost seemed that he gave up after years of struggling. It was the worst years of my life, visting him almost daily.

5:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My dad also got a stroke and was hospitalized 'til he died, at 73. It almost seemed that he gave up after years of struggling. It was the worst years of my life, visting him almost daily.

5:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My dad also got a stroke and was hospitalized 'til he died, at 73. It almost seemed that he gave up after years of struggling. It was the worst years of my life, visting him almost daily.

5:32 AM  

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