by the Night Writer
Buffy Holt linked to this profound photo essay the other day, saying:
Days With My Father is Phillip Toledano’s evocative photo essay of his 98-year old dad and their struggle with memory loss. But it’s so much more than that too. Five minutes of your today…and it will move you beyond words.
I’d gladly give Buffy more than five minutes just on her word, so I went to the link…and was moved.
For some reason, however, my browser (IE) would show the photos but not the full text, cutting off the far left hand side of the page. Even in full-screen mode the text ran off the page and couldn’t be slid into view. Three-quarters of a line, half-a line, was all I could make out. God, it was frustrating … and it reminded me of my grandfather, aphasic after his stroke, when all he could get out was half a sentence, leaving you to guess or interpret the rest. It reminded me of my father, weak and tired and barely able to breathe, speaking a minimum of words, trusting to memory and context and a shrug to supply meaning.
Then, reading the snippets of text again, and remembering how this was an account of struggling with being able to remember. How perfect, then, for meaning to be found outside of syntax! You can’t use your brain, only your eyes and your heart, to feel, not to know, what is meant…and then still being able to understand it!
Just like with my grandfather. Just like with my father. Days that I will never have again, but days that will never leave me.
(By viewing the link now in Firefox I can read everything, so it wasn’t a deliberate technique for telling the story. I almost wish it was, but take my word that you wouldn’t want to miss a thing.)