Saturday, May 30, 2015

Last Photos

These final pictures of my dad, whom I loved (and still love) very much, are hard for me to look at. In short, they make me sad. I had even forgotten that I took them.

They were taken on March 10, 2015 at the rehab facility he stayed at after his last hospitalization. I took them surreptitiously (I'm not sure why) with my cell phone camera. My dad passed away on March 12 (nearly March 11, as he was taken to the hospital ER the night before and died at 2:45am on the morning of the 12th). I don't think there were any pictures taken of him after about 2011. I don't know why. Perhaps it was his failing health, that seemed to come on so suddenly, at least suddenly in terms of just a few years. He had always been very active, and it hurt to see him finally walking only short distances with the aid of a walker, and then unable to walk at all, virtually confined to bed 24 hours a day. So maybe we just didn't bother with cameras and picture taking anymore.

After that worst day of my life I began to wish I'd taken some photos of him to remember what he looked like at the end. I was still having conversations with him right up to that last day and didn't want my memory to grow completely foggy when trying to conjure his face as it was during those conversations. You see, I had completely forgotten that I had taken the photos below. I just happened to be going through the photo gallery on my smartphone and was surprised to see them. At that moment they actually made me happy for a minute, as I now realized I did indeed have an image of him as he was at this final stage of his life.

Unfortunately you can only see him from the back and side as he sits in a wheelchair ready to be taken by a nurse out to the car (as this was the day he was being released to go home). You'll notice though he is wearing a beard. He had not grown a beard since a brief period in the 1970s. It started as a goatee in early 2013, but he let it grow out from then on and, though he did trim it back a few times, toward the end, he gave up that effort altogether, though a male nurse did finally trim it up for him and cut it back some.

I will post some earlier photos of him soon.

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