Hat as Protection

This is a portrait of my Dad. He was a businessman, an industrial engineer. He wore a hat like the one pictured, a Fedora, I guess it’s called. We use the phrase “He wore many hats” meaning he had several roles to play. He’s a husband, father, has been retired for a long time. He’s also been a cancer survivor for twenty years. But it’s now finally caught up with him. He’s on palliative meds, letting the cancer have its way. We still have him with us but he’s very sick.

I’m lucky to have spent a lot of time with him this past year. He and I have gotten to know each other. I didn’t think it was possible for the two of us to be as close as we are. He’s had to let go of many hats: Caretaker of finances, Breakfast cook, Food shopper, Driver. He’s used to being the boss, the one in charge, and in control.

Hats protect us. They keep the rain off our heads of course, but they also identify us. He recently said to Mom and me; “If I’m not able to help, then who am I?” It’s hard to watch him struggle to make peace with the process of becoming weaker.

He holds on tight but courageously surrenders and lets go of the old roles when he knows he has to. I see a changing man. Two years ago I wouldn’t have been able to call him a loving one, now I experience it all the time. I’m thinking of designing a new line of hats.