First Christmas Without My Mom and Coping with Film

The First Christmas Without My Mom - Coping With Film and Regrets

I feel like I never properly grieved for my mom. Maybe I never will. Maybe properly grieving isn't a feeling that exists. I lost my mom 3 days before christmas. I drove home 10 hours to Ohio on December 22nd, only to find out that my mom had passed shortly after my departure. 10 hours in the car, unaware that my life would be so horrendously impacted when my feet next set pavement. I have so many regrets about it all. 

My mom lost her battle to early onset Alzheimers - it seemed like a long battle but it was so damn quick. The catalog of memories from my mom plays in short clips of christmas and summers, 6 month reminders of the chunks of her personality stripped away from her. 6 months of desensitizing myself to it all by being away and being disconnected. 6 month doses of fewer and fewer words and me not properly dealing with them

  • Unaware, increasingly blank expressions
  • "I just worry that I won't be able to have fun. I miss teaching and my students and it was so hard saying goodbye"
  • "Are you working on something? Who are you texting?"
  • "This is such a great movie"
  • "I love ice cream"
  • "I need water"
  • "are you happy?"
  • "are you happy?"
  • "..."

The thoughts became so much fewer and so much simpler, but even in moments of not having anything to say, she would ask me if I was happy. I'm so sorry I wasn't happy for you. I was trying, so hard. I promise I was. I'm sorry I was unhappy for so long and you felt the affects of that. You were so kind and so caring and provided me with so much love and I'm sorry that didn't manifest itself as something better in me. I wish we could converse now. Things are better. They aren't perfect, but they are better. I wish you could talk to me about photography and my girlfriend and regrets that you have so we could work to erase those. I wish that when all you could muster to ask me, when you could only communicate through deep and habitual love, was "are you happy?" that I could have resoundingly responded with "yes, mom...wildly so". I feel that you deserved that from me. You deserved your love and affection being reflected back in pure joy. I hope you know how much I was trying to be happy and how perhaps I had to be unhappy to figure out what I truly wanted in life. I miss you, Mom. Even at my lowest of lows, you were always the person I called to talk through the pains. I wish you were still here to see my life come together and witness the greatness that I know I'm going to achieve. You deserve it. You deserve so much more than what you got. I'm not sure what's worse, watching someone gradually fade away or having someone abruptly taken away from you all at once. I don't know that I want to know, but what I do want to know is that you were still able to experience joy when you were fading away. I hope, so so so dearly, that the simpler things like ice cream and movies and tv shows took place of past joys and were able to comfort you as much as the more complex emotions of life. You were really loved, by everyone who had the priveledge to know you and I would love to know that you felt mine even through my lows. I miss you. 

Disconnection has been a common theme of my life when dealing with personal struggles, for as long as I can remember. This Christmas, I didn't know what to do with myself. I wish I had been a bit more present, but all I felt like I could do was hide behind a camera and try to document the negative space that you so beautifully filled. I may not see you, but I know you are in these photographs...if only through the spirits and existence of those you so deeply loved. 

kodak t-max 400 35mm film documentary lifestyle photography with family on leica m-a and summicron 35mm asph v1

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