August 06, 2009

Tick. Tock.

From photographer Phillip Toledano's "Days with My Father" series. Extraordinary.

So here I am now, Kids. "Back" in action. Sorry for the pun but that's my nature. Corny humor. It's only a matter of time before I am likely to ask you to "pull my finger". Be prepared as I become more like my father every day.

I came across the work of photographer Phillip Toledano today. He has a series posted called "Days with My Father" that is one of the loveliest things I have seen. It is painfully touching and very much worthwhile.

For some reason I have always had a morbid fear of the passing of my own parents. I vividly remember being 7 years old, on 9th Avenue, lying in my bed, and crying to God pleading with Him not to take my parents away. I don't know how this ever even entered my mind at such a young age? But it's a fear that has always lingered. And it raises its head more and more these days.

I don't know if it was turning 40 and the realization that, yes, in point of fact, time is passing. Or just the cycle of my mental life. No, it's the former. For sure. I feel such a strong desire to spend more time with my mom and dad. But it's time I seem to rarely find. And yet I worry that it will become a regret. A big one. When I feel that I am losing time to what will likely become entirely insignificant activities and "obligations". Or a job. Or bills. Or my own thoughts.

I am keeping my head above water these days. (I'm a better swimmer than I thought.) But will I manage to stumble into steadier financial footing in time to be of some assistance to my parents? Will I ever get to afford the adoption fees for my, as of yet, imaginary kids so that they get to know their grandparents? The way I never got to do? Will I ever get to feel the satisfaction that comes with knowing you made your parents proud of you? I don't know. But I really, really, really hope so.

I have given myself permission to resume smoking, temporarily, after the first funeral. See what I mean about the "morbid" part?

Anyway, I'm feeling a bit nostalgic, melancholy, and damn appreciative this morning. Appreciative for the people I get to call Mom and Dad. And appreciative that I still have some time. I hope.


  1. This post is terrific. I was about 10 or 12 when I realized my parents & grandparents would someday pass. My mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer in June of 08 & even I was surprised how devastating that news was. Morbid, who knows, but I do know I am just like you. The good news, you have your priorities in check. We should all appreciate our loved ones such as you. One thing I have learned this year - you never know when your time is up, never.
    Great post!

  2. I'm afraid this is how it is as one gets older. I suppose it's inevitable, deaths begin to happen (I lost my eldest sister almost 2yrs ago) If you could spend more time with your parents that would be good, but don't feel bad if you can't, life gets in the way and it's nobody's fault.

  3. you should already feel the satisfaction of knowing you've made your parents proud. and they are proud of you already....any child who speaks of their parents in the loving way you just did has proud parents for sure!

  4. Beautifully written Bradford. Life is so short and sometimes the passing of time feels like a thought. The best thing is that you recognize how precious your time here really is. I have a son who has worked hard at trying to remain a part of our lives, as well as his little brothers, even though he lives a distance from us. It is such a feeling of pride to know he values our relationship. Your parents must feel that same pride. It means so much. Believe me.


  5. I just love this post. I also turned the big 4-0 this year and have many of your same worries and concerns about death. Just saying "I love you" to my parents as often as I can is a start. Hugs for you!

  6. ahhh, his work is magnificent...
    beautiful post! ;]

  7. very real thoughts and fears. it's all consuming to think about losing loved ones', finances and becoming who you feel you are meant to be. i guess it makes us work harder, appreciate more and i've always thought it a gift to even have the wherewithal to be thoughtful and grateful of the now. my father and i were very clothes, but he passed away before he could see me marry or have children and be a part of it. i still feel lucky in a large way, that he was sooo cool and an amazing proud father. beautiful and long lasting thoughts with you. xo

  8. i meant close, not clothes. obviously! ugh, tgif!

  9. Great post. It's ok Beefy. My mom passed last year and she didn't even make it to 60. Love your parents and appreciate them for the time you have with them now. Focus on LIFE not death.

  10. I was lucky enough to work with my mother at the shop she created and now, after her death, I am the official shopgirl. I was lucky to spend good days, bad days, and the last days with her.

  11. Toledano's site reduced me to tears, what an amazing tribute. Thank you for reminding me of it's beauty.


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