While I can't deny a huge sense of loss, this is a time when I want to celebrate Dad's life, which after 93 years was the kind of life we all hope to look back on in our final hours. Dad and Mom were married for two weeks short of 66 years when she lost the battle to Alzheimer's. I remember Dad leaning over her, just before her last breath and saying, "We had an incredible run. I love you."
There it is, the essence of my Dad - just a guy who loved his family and friends more than anything else. In fact, nothing else really mattered to him, and that brings me full circle to still trying to figure out what to share here. You see, there aren't many guys my age who still had their parents around, let alone enjoyed being with them. I had them both these last few years living in Florida. Even yesterday, just hours before Dad let go, when I whispered in his ear, "You'll always be my best buddy," he squeezed my hand recognizing my presence.
Just to keep imaging in today's post, my Dad absolutely loved photography. Hasselblad's legendary Ernst Wildi once told me the difference between a professional photographer and an amateur is that amateurs show you all of their shots! Well, through thousands of Kodachrome and then Ektachrome images Dad never threw a single slide away. He later got into prints and eventually digital, but his biggest challenge was trying to find a camera for my mother that didn't cut off heads. My mother could never frame a shot, and it sent Dad off in search of the one camera that wasn't "defective".
He loved coming to conventions with me and especially when he and Don Blair could hang out together. While he was in awe of Don's ability to capture/create a stunning portrait, the friendship between them was more about their mutual love for their families, because that was the standard for both of them.
My Dad was simply the epitome of a great "Pop" and the stories I have, many supported with photographs over the years, will last me the rest of my life. Behind every tear is a bitter-sweet smile - I'm going to miss him a lot, but what a gift he gave our family and me. I couldn't be prouder to be Ralph Cohen's son.
still loved, still missed and very dear.