Here’s an excerpt from photographer and author Phillip Toledano’s tremendous, raw and intimate journey with his father between 2006 and 2009. A tribute to life even as the lights begin to dim, and the paradoxical dimming that makes hearts and spirits brighter than ever.
My Mum died suddenly on September 4th, 2006
After she died, I realized how much she’d been shielding me from my father’s mental state. He didn’t have alzheimers, but he had no short-term memory, and was often lost.
I took him to the funeral, but when we got home, he’d keep asking me every 15 minutes where my mother was. I had to explain over and over again, that she had died.
This was shocking news to him.
Why had no-one told him?
Why hadn’t I taken him to the funeral?
Why hadn’t he visited her in the hospital?
He had no memory of these events.
After a while, I realized I couldn’t keep telling him that his wife had died. He didn’t remember, and it was killing both of us, to constantly re-live her death.
I decided to tell him she’d gone to Paris, to take care of her brother, who was sick.
‘Days with my father’ is a journal.
A record of our relationship, and the time we spent over the last three years.
Published by Chronicle Books in 2010.