Wandering like my Dad
This has been a challenging few weeks for me.
My father has transcended to the next world. I have joined this club and it's not really a membership I wish on anyone, even though nature says, this is the proper order of things.
In the midst of this whirlwind, I have felt an outpouring of love that makes a birthday on Facebook look like test prep in a middle school. People from all corners of my life have come out of the woodwork, offering condolences (I am still not sure what this means, exactly. I mean, I know, but like, it still sounds weird), offering food, offering advice, offering love, words of wisdom, or mere distractions. My age puts me pretty much in a 50/50 marker with my friends: those who have lost a parent and those who have not, so I have plenty of empathetic ears. However, most people don't know what to say. That's okay. I don't really know what to say either.
One person did strike a cord though. My good friends' husband, who lost his dad a while back offered me this:
"There are some wounds that never heal. This is one of them. But guess what? Our hurts are part of the deal. They are a part of our fabric. Of who we are. Thanks to them we stand tall and we keep walking or fighting or whatever the hell we set out to do. You might carry the burden for a while, but at the end, way down the road, you'll know that by missing him, you will keep his values very well alive. Anything that reminds you of him, you'll live by. Your identity will be even more embedded with his life's teachings in every step you'll make. You'll be surprised...!"
Roshd's words pierced me in a beautiful way, reigniting my tears, which seem to be a constant these days, but sparking something in me as well. My father, of all people, would want me to shoot right now. He would 100% want me to pick myself up, no matter what was going on, and try to move forward....and work. (My mom has also confirmed this.) While I DO need some time (which I am about to take), I am also opening myself up to the creative process of grief. Some of the best work comes out of sadness. And if I have the impulse to take my camera out, I will go with that.
Today ended up being a slow one. Cancellations, missing documents, mercury retrograde getting it's last way with us before it leaves. And I had extra time. So instead of running back to my illegally parked car, a strolled up 8th Street.
Whenever we traveled as a family, we would always take one day to leave the laziness of the beach and venture into a shopping area. I would often look around and wonder where my dad had wandered off to. It didn't startle me, maybe because I was the same way...a wanderer. I actually just thought it was funny. I mean, how far could he possibly go? In my fathers' later years, he had a propensity to wander. My stepmom used to call him a "P" person. This was a personality type reference from the Meyers Briggs personality test. I never looked up the proper definition of it, as "P Person" formed its own definition in my family unit; a wanderer, a dreamer, a distractible type. Knowing now, just how meticulous my father was, I realize, he never would have lost any of us. He always knew where we were. Perhaps he always wandered with purpose, more than we knew.
So today, like my dad, I wandered, slowly, with purpose, up a quiet Park Slope street. It's infrequent that you will find a block with few eye sores, like trucks or scaffolding or construction of some type. But this street, today, seemed perfectly groomed, perfectly in bloom, and delightfully empty just wanting to be photographed. The few people that fit onto the sidewalks didn't even bother me. Again, allowing the creative process to flow.
As I approached the middle of the block, gaining in on my car (no ticket!), I turned to see the cherry blossoms. My dad loved cherry blossoms. I haven't really photographed them this seasons. Not yet. But today, I thought, this would be a really lovely backdrop for something. With my dad over my shoulder, I felt like I was shooting a stage of some sort.