This is the last photograph I have of my father where he appears to be fully aware of who I am and what’s going on. The occasion was a small gathering at a restaurant to celebrate his 85th birthday. In this picture it’s clear he recognizes me and that he knows I’m taking a picture.
My Dad died a year and a half later. He would have been 93 today.
Despite the fact that he was frequently unkind to me, my father took my filial affections for granted until very near the end of his life. There was a brief period where he would call me up and tell me he loved me—unfortunately by then what I mostly heard was an implicit prompt for me to tell him that I loved him too.
I was angry and resentful for a long time. Nevertheless, I managed his finances for ten years and subsequently executed his will over another four after his death.
I am so glad that those negative emotions have begun, at long last, to fade. He was a brilliant, creative, difficult person who (I suppose) in no small part made me who I am. I would much rather remember him with love and gratitude than with rancor.