Days with My Father

Fotoğrafçı Phillip Toledano'yu çok yetenekli buluyorum; Gamers, Phonesex
ve A New Kind of Beauty projeleri çok nefis mesela (ilgileniyorsanız sitesine
buradan gidebilirsiniz). Ama bugün burada paylaşacağım, Days with My Father
isimli çalışması. Annesinin ölümünden sonra, kısa süreli bellek kaybı sorunları
yaşadığı için eşinin ölümünü bir türlü kabullenemeyen babasıyla geçirdiği üç yılı
görselleştirmiş Toledano. Bu bir fotoğraf günlüğü, ama kayıtlarla birlikte ele
alındığında çok etkili oluyor (hatta ben yıllar önce bu projeyi ilk keşfettiğimde
-ki o zaman bitmemiş, kitap haline de getirilmemişti- yazılanlardan o kadar
etkilenmiştim ki, azıcık ağlamıştım bile). Yerinde görmek için:

My Mum died suddenly on September 4th, 2006

After she died, I realized how much she’d been shielding me from my father’s mental state. He didn’t have alzheimers, but he had no short-term memory, and was often lost.

I took him to the funeral, but when we got home, he’d keep asking me every 15 minutes where my mother was. I had to explain over and over again, that she had died.

This was shocking news to him.

Why had no one told him?
Why hadn’t I taken him to the funeral?
Why hadn’t he visited her in the hospital?

He had no memory of these events.

After a while, I realized I couldn’t keep telling him that his wife had died. He didn’t remember, and it was killing both of us, to constantly re-live her death.

I decided to tell him she’d gone to Paris, to take care of her brother, who was sick.

‘Days with my father’ is a journal.

A record of our relationship, and the time we spent over the last three years. 2006-2009.

I asked my father to look in the mirror, while I took his photograph.

Now, you have to realize my dad was very handsome when he was young. When people talk about ‘Film star handsome’, well, that was my dad. In fact, he WAS a film star (of sorts), in Hollywood, during the 1930’s.

So when he looks in the mirror, he sees a man ravaged, a man no longer beautiful, and that upsets him deeply.

You see, he’s still vain at 98. In fact, his vanity can be quite extraordinary.

I tried to take him to the doctor a few months ago, but on the way out, he caught a glimpse of himself in the hall mirror.

He was so horrified with his appearance, that he refused to leave the house until I found a ‘black pencil’ to dye his white hair with.

I find these scraps of writing all over the house… they are a glimpse into his mind, the disquiet he tries to hide from me

Where is everyone?

What’s going on?

How lost he feels.

This is George.

My dad never remembers her name, so he calls her 'The mutt'.

He says she is just like a human being.

He also thinks the mutt should be in the movies, because she’s so talented.

Some of the genius tricks George performs are:


Looking at us with a 'human expression'.

Lying on the carpet.

My father will happily feed her his entire dinner. Surreptitiously throwing bits of food on the floor (which would have horrified my mother) and laughing at the 'intelligent' way in which George hurls herself at the scraps.

My dad spends enormous amounts of time in the toilet.

Because he has no short-term memory, he can be in there for hours at a time.

It’s both heartbreaking and infuriating.

He’ll do his business, and then as he’s putting on his trousers, say: “Wait a second – I have to go.”

I’ll try and reason with him. I’ll explain that he’s been sitting on the toilet for at least an hour. But he just turns slowly and gives me this look. As though he can’t believe he’s fathered such a dim child.

I love moments like these.

For just a few minutes, everything almost feels normal again. My mum isn't dead, and we're not pretending she's gone to Paris.

She's popped out to the store, and she'll be back shortly.

How sweet that would be.

My father is very funny.

I put these little cookies on his chest, and he said-’look at my titties!’

How can you not laugh?

My father was 98 today.

I’ve always been amazed at my father’s love for my mother.

It’s a constant force, like sunlight, or gravity.

He never stops talking about her. His gratitude for her love, for the relationship they had.

For the way in which she was the glue for our little family.

I loved her so much, but she drove me crazy.

My hair was too short. My shirt too wrinkled. I wasn’t standing straight.

She called me up once and told me not to go outside, because it was dangerously windy!

Now that she’s gone I realise that I spent a lifetime resisting her influence, and now, I miss it.

I think she was right about almost everything…

She would have been very happy to hear me say those words.

I bought one of my dad’s films the other day. (He was an actor for a while)

It’s a Charlie Chan detective story, shot in the 30's.

We watched it together this afternoon. (That’s him on the right)

I don’t think he’d seen it since it was made.

He told me he was too young to grow the required pencil moustache, so he had to have it glued on.

It’s extraordinary to see my dad, not as my father, but as a young man.

An enormous ocean of possibility ahead of him. My mother and I, our lives together, all shrouded in the vast unknown.

Sometimes, when we’re talking,

my dad will stop, and sigh, and close his eyes.

It’s then that I know, that he knows.

About my mum.

About everything.

So my dad died yesterday.

I spent the whole night with him, holding his hand, listening to him breathe, wondering when it would be his last. He died in his bed, at home, with my wife Carla and I next to him.

For the past three years I have been waiting. Terrified that he would die when I was away. I didn’t want him to go on his own, surrounded by strangers, or plugged into machines. I know it sounds odd, but I'm so very grateful for the way it happened.

I feel lucky to have had these last three years. To have left nothing unsaid. To know we loved each other nakedly, without embarrassment. To have felt his pride at my accomplishments. And to have discovered how funny he was.

Just last week, on his 99th birthday, I asked him how old he thought he was.

Grinning, he said: “Twenty-two and a half?”

Now he’s gone to Paris to meet my mum.

7 yorum :

sıradan biri-an ordinary person dedi ki...

sabah sabah gurbet ellerde ağlattın beni çavlan.

dodo dedi ki...

evet cuma gününe başlamak için üzücü bir yol ...
ama çok güzeldi
izninle link bile vereceğim...

Judy Abbott dedi ki...

gözlerim yaşardı, hele son cümlede . yine de çok ama çok güzeldi.

Dışavurum dedi ki...

gözlerim dolu şu an :(
Çok etkileyici ve ne kadar gerçek ...

Çavlan dedi ki...

evet, ağlatmak gibi bir etkisi oluyor bakanın üzerinde ne yazık ki ama ne yapayım, çok etkileyici buluyorum bu albümü.

dodo link vermek için izin istemek ne demek, hoşuma bile gider.

gürültü dedi ki...

yurtta okuyup bunu bunalıma girmek...

cino dedi ki...

nuri bilge ceylan'ın da buna benzer bir çalışması vardı, 'babam için'.

baktıkça burnunun direği sızlıyor adamın: