I have spent a fair bit of time in the darkroom, trying and trying to get a decent print from this negative. Somehow it’s evaded me, as the right words do now.
How do you make up for lost time when you’ve spent almost 9/10ths of your life apart?
And just how do you sum up a whole life in a few words?
So here’s a man who I should have known a lot better but didn’t get the chance. Someone who taught me about the capacity to be happy and make other people happy, how to be gentle and kind. How to love and not bear a grudge. How to be sorry and how to make up for lost time even when it’s running low.
Someone who loved to be behind a camera but hated to have it turned on him.
“What shall I do?” he said when I asked him to pose in front of the mirror at Chatsworth House. “Just be yourself, Dad,” I told him, even though I wasn’t entirely sure who that was, right then. I probably never would have been, but who really knows their own parents?
I didn’t appreciate just how loved he was until I visited him in hospital. Time after time I’d turn up and there would be other people there. Sometimes there were crowds.
One time, while the visitors chatted amongst themselves I sat down beside him and pulled out some prints I’d made and we talked them through. We talked about a little of everything that last day; we even planned a trip to Whitby when got out of hospital. But that was never meant to be.
The last words he said to me – “at least we got a little time together.” The bedside had been less crowded that day and I thought that’s what he meant.
It’s hard saying goodbye to someone when you feel like you’ve only just said hello. But at least we had a little time.