In early June I received news that my 89 year old-farther, who had been to that moment hale, hearty and robust, had had a massive heart attack and was in the Intensive Care Unit of his local hospital in Newfoundland, Canada. Although at one point his life expectancy was quite low, the good news is that although he remains frail, he continues to grow stronger each day.
The pictures are in black and white because I felt that way they more clearly portrayed a sense of my father’s dignity and strength.
If you are interested, here is a poem I wrote about visiting him in the hospital during that time: Free to fly.
Before viewing the photographs, I would also like to invite you to visit the poetry blog, the Book of Pain. Thank you for dropping by the Book of Bokeh.
When I arrived he was hooked up to a large number of gizmos, many of which are not even in this picture.
This is one of the most characteristic gestures of my father, one I have seen thousands of times and which he uses to think deeply about something.
For a person who had all his life shied away from the camera, during the time I was there, he was very straight forward about having a portrait taken.
Here are two shots of my dad discussing with his doctor about making a decision on how far the staff should go to revive him if he has another heart attack. As would be the decision of someone as brave as my father, he went with a Do Not Resuscitate decision.
You see an old man. I see the strong, vibrant, dedicated, honest, sincere and generous mountain of a man who filled my youth. This is a man who used to leave his job as an electrician at a pulp and paper mill and for his vacation (his vacation!) visit relatives along the coast so that he could go to sea in a small 16 foot open boat and haul in the fishing traps with them.
Tea, heavens but does he love a good cup of strong tea!
This is a man who fears nothing and is now only patient with his Lord. He lived a good life well and faces a wonderful reward justly earned.
My last image of him was the most profound, his saying his rosary. My childhood is filled with him praying. As my sister says, He’s worn the knees from every pair of pants he has ever owned, praying for those he loves. And he loved everybody.
All photographs and comments ©2014 by John Etheridge with all rights reserved; not to be used without the expressed written permission of the copyright owner.