i’ve been praying (best word i have for it) for my father’s happiness. i struggled with it so at the beginning that i set my cell phone with reminders throughout the day… “pray” it says on the screen… and i flip to my gallery of images on my phone and settle on this shot of the Reno skyline. It is roughly the view he sees from his back balcony. He loves that view. i pray then… as i picture him on that balcony… i pray that his world is gentle and that he is happy. i pray that he has strength to face his wife’s physical decline and his emotional demons. i pray that he smile and enjoy a good beer and that he understand why i am not there for him… or here for him, for that matter. i pray.
Today , as i was praying, i thought of my father and his wife… and how he photoshops smiles onto her digital pics. Yes. He copies smiles of old digital images and photoshops them onto new photos. It’s creepy, i gotta tell you. Her medical condition has robbed her of the ability to smile. i asked about it once and he said, “she wants to smile… she would be smiling in this photo if she could.”
So, he sits at his computer and painstakingly covers over her Mona Lisa smiles with more vibrant ones of the past. Sometimes the resultant image is believable while other times it feels like the red strokes of a mortician’s makeup brush.
i imagine that sometimes, she doesn’t want to be smiling and wouldn’t be smiling, even if she could. Ah, but he wants her to be smiling. In the absence of knowing, he simply paints that image of her in his mind and in his photo album. That’s dad, in a nutshell. i hope he can find peace – even if it is created out of vapor in the photoshop suite in his mind.
Dad always did love Nat King Cole and this song seems especially touching to me right now…
i love you dad – even if i never say it to you again… i pray that you smile.
Nat King Cole’s Smile