There is a two-fold thing happening in my life right now. I’m taking photographs of my mam. Forever photos. She’s 88 on Monday. How much longer will she live? Who knows. Life is strange like that. We can’t predict what is going to happen. Or how long we will live. There is a sense of urgency to it too. A kind of capturing memories for when the inevitable happens. A last chance to make someone last forever. When she goes I will lose a connection, a connection to a past that I came from. That is a scary concept. To have one parent is hard, but to have none. Well it doesn’t bear thinking about. Who will I ask about the past, who will tell me the tales that she keeps hidden. So now I take photographs. Of a life once lived. A life that once danced and laughed. A life that once experienced but now sits and waits.
And the two-fold thing……. Well I’ve been researching the family tree for my mam. On the maternal side. Trying to find out, for my mam, where her grandmother and grandfather came from. And I’ve succeeded. I’ve got answers for her. Surprising answers too. My mam never knew her grandparents on her mothers side. I sense, a tale, of sadness, of rejection somewhere there. My mam is very protective of her mother, was very protective. Still is, of her memory. I sense a story there. A sad story, one which I will gently capture. Things start to make sense. Things from my childhood make sense. Injustices, betrayals, rejection. Answers, answers, answers, please. But they will come. Slowly, and gently.
Today I took my little mam to the pictures. She loves going to the pictures. Normally it is a scary movie we go to watch. Today was no different. She loves scary movies, although she often complains that they are not scary enough. Time is running out, she’s 88, well 87 actually. Her birthday is in 3 weeks time and then she’ll officially be 88. We got there at one pm, the film was due to start at quarter past. They hadn’t even opened up. I don’t know how these places make any money. Oh yes I do. Nearly 20 pounds it cost, for an adult and senior citizen ticket, one small diet coke and a cuppa. Yes that’s how they make their money. I remember the days when……….. well you get my drift.
My mam walks with a stick so I have to get her seated and then go back for the refreshments. She hates climbing the stairs to get to a seat but she doesn’t like to sit too close to the screen so up we go, my little mam hanging onto my arm and using her stick to help her up. She chooses where we sit even though our tickets said we were to sit elsewhere. I told the man when he asked which seats we wanted that we’d sit wherever my little mam decided to sit regardless. He laughed. Not sure I like this new practice of asking people where they want to sit. The film seemed to take ages to start and then eventually we were off. The sound is so intense sometimes but why of why does my mam insist on talking loudly during the quiet scenes. Yes its embarrassing, but haven’t our parents embarrassed us all out lives. When the film finished we waited until everyone had gone and then slowly made our way down from the gods, back to terra firma. And we followed the same routine, stopping off at pizza hut on the way back to the car so my mam can take a pizza home for her tea. Its little things like this that I will remember with fondness, and maybe shed a tear or two, when the inevitable happens. My mam doesn’t understand why I want to take photos of her. But I do, she’s my mam, and these are my memories.
My first post since the death of my beloved Pip. I knew it was going to be hard when she went but I never imagined I would feel so much grief. I haven’t stopped crying for four days and I think there will be more tears in the days, maybe weeks, to come. How can one little dog affect your life so much.
So today I started experimenting again with my wood photographs. I’ve been wracking my brain for weeks wondering what I would write in Japanese on the photographs. You see I’ve decided to take my love of the Far East and introduce it into my Castle Eden photographs. It was only natural that this is the path that I would take. At first I thought I would write my name on the photographs and I was going with that until this week. What better tribute to a little animal that brought so much love, companionship and fun to my life then to have her name immortalised on my photographs.
I searched the internet to find a translator which would translate Heavenly Pip into Japanese. I think I have got it right but I still need to check it out, just to make sure that is what it reads. If there is anyone out there that can verify if it is correct then please contact me.
How do we lurch from sadness to a sundae. How many people have walked past this memorial, stopped to look at it and wonder how sad the family must be, and then head on for coffee, ice cream or hot pancakes. Do we count our blessings, do we think of loved ones. Do we wonder what happened. Do we wonder if, tragedy invaded our lives, would we too leave a memorial at the site of where our loved ones died.
I sometimes briefly wonder what that sadness must feel like, how would I cope with it. We have all at some point lost a loved one, my dad died in old age. It wasn’t a tragedy, it was how death takes you when you get old. Sad it is, I still desperately miss him and my world fell apart the day he died.
But when death strikes when it shouldn’t. The injustice, the guilt at being left behind. The need to remember, never forgot. Lay my flowers, lay my wreaths, lay my teddies. I shall always remember.