Nothing Left Unsaid
I lost my father, John, to a heart attack in September of 2013, leaving many things between us unsaid, and issues left unresolved. The last time I spoke to my father, we argued, like most of the times we were left alone with each other. The last words he said to me were, "I hate you." After these words were uttered, I left. I left because I felt like talking to him, or getting him to see things from another's point of view had become impossible. Before I knew this would be the last time we would see or speak to each other, I decided to write him a letter. I felt this was the only way he would be able to understand what I was trying to tell him. I had hoped this would be the first step towards a better relationship between the two of us. I never got to give him that letter.
We all have the power and the tools to leave nothing unsaid between us and those we care about, but this is easier said than done. Even in a time where communication between two people is easier than ever due to technology, we still push many meaningful conversations to another day, sometimes indefinitely. Nothing Left Unsaid is an opportunity for me to tell this story, and to work through and process this time from mine and my father's life. It is an opportunity for the viewer to think about what they have left unsaid and decide whether they want to do something about it. The envelope I present is addressed to my father at his final resting place, with the return address being where he lived at the time of his death, my childhood home. The stamp being a photo of my father, with the postmark date being the day he died. On the backside, you can see through the envelope to a map of Elgin, IL, the town I currently live in, the town my father forever rests in. On the envelope, the driving route from my home to where my father lies. On the flip side of the map, is a photograph I took of myself at his gravesite. On paper from a notebook my father left behind is the last photograph ever taken of him, a cell phone photograph a family member of mine took at a family party I was unable to attend. Underneath, the last words he said to me. But, when looked at with a UV light, the words "I love you" appear. The last words I know my father would have said to me if he had the chance. The last words I would have said to him if I had known I was speaking with him for the last time. But, these words were left unsaid, as well as many others. So, they remain hidden. The pencil included represents our power to leave nothing unsaid, but with time we have less opportunity. With use, the more the pencil is sharpened, it will go from "Nothing Left Unsaid" to "Nothing Left" to "Nothing" and eventually like our own lives, that pencil runs out.