The First Year

Posted: June 27, 2009 in butterflies, macro photography

Note on photo above: Dad and bro at Mum's grave.  Bro looks like wolverine… without the great bod and Adamantium claws.

The First Year

I can't believe it.  We survived the first year without:

1) Mum's cooking

2) Mum's housecleaning

3) Mum trying to keep us all together

Forever Smiling

I woke up late.  Rolled out of bed like a log.  Took so long to get dressed that by the time we left the house, it started to pour.  After a whole load of running and forgetting stuff and getting confused and some amount of miscommunication later, we ended up at Mum's grave with flowers and me with massive headache and feeling just generally half asleep.

I turned to leave, taking my last few photos, feeling, in my dizziness, that Mum's story had ended with a smile, a happy ending.  Inexplicably.

Note on photo above: I took my Dad and bro for a meal after the visit.

The Recollection

The funny thing about Mum's first year death anniversary was that some days before the anniversary, I began inevitably to recount and recollect what I was doing at that hour one year ago as if I was walking backwards.  Or reliving the days again.  As if half of me had time-machined myself back one year ago, while the other half busied itself with the business of present living.

I remembered sleeping on the hospice couch for nights.  And being on half days for an unimaginable number of days, eventually stopping entirely and going on unpaid leave.

I remember eating a whole load of olives and bread and apple juice.  I even remember where I bought them (Carrefour) and who I was with when I bought them. 

I remember the smell of the hospice room, the warm air in the hallways, the pale colour of the bathroom tiles, the critters in the garden, the taste of hospital food, the neon hospital lights in the night, the people crying in the lobby.

I remember running out onto the road at night and screaming on the highway.  I remember the specials on the menu of the hospital canteen, the sweet smell and colour of liquid morphine,  Mum's endless coughing, the feel of her wasted arms around my waist as they changed her diapers and straightened her bedsheets, her doctor's gait, how he reminded me of Mr Bean, the temperature of her room, the way the sun shone directly into my eyes in the morning and faded to blue by evening.

I remember hugging my Sigma 150-500mm in the garden, thinking quietly.  I remember the falling water on a pane of glass, the names of people on furniture around the hospice, how to attach the head support to their wheelchairs, the colour of Mum's hospital gowns, the thorns on the plants just beneath her window. 

Note on photo above:  My Mum had these…frogs' eggs soup because there is a traditional belief that they help people with lung problems.  I don't know if it's true.  But they taste pretty good…if you're not queasy.

The Depiction Of Life

I just tried to upload the album of black and whites I made last year.  Strangely Vox wouldn't let me.

I guess that's good too.  Maybe it's not good to remember too much of the sad stuff.

Note on photo: My Dad and bro ignored me after I insisted that they don't eat sharks' fins soup.  And after that they felt a little ripped cos that was all the fin they got in their soup.

Note on photo above:  The restaurant was just next to the bird park.  So I photographed these little adorables with my mobile camera after we exited the restaurant.  They so remind me of Tic-Tac, Raymond's little buddy.

Note on photo: On a completely unrelated note, while I was moping around the malls, a group of drummers passed by to remind me how completely random life is.

Note on photo: My first female malayan plum judy…

Short Shoot

You wouldn't believe it but after the visit and the restaurant and the birdies, there was time to shoot before hitting the mall to mope.  

Note on photo above:  The topside was not purplish red but almost completely like the underside from what I could barely spy between her pretty little shoulders.

Note on photo above:  I just like the way the wings and tails had all hit the sun in such a way when the butterfly ran away that it all looked so magical.

Read and post comments

  1. Raymond says:

    I can finally sense you're letting go. Still a long way to go, but oh so much progress. I can feel how you've fought for that balm of time, struggling every day to earn just another day between the parting and today. A year. Could you have understood a year ago that life could be again as sweet as it was intended to be? I think your mom knew and she would have been proud of you for going on with your life. I know I'm proud of you, even if you do live a million miles away! [P] This is a little off the more serious subjet, but I wanted you to know how much I like the Sun Conures, the birds, that you photographed. I can't actually tell you it brought tears to my eyes, cause , you know, I'm a guy. But yeah, there was a certain tightness in my heart, so, uh, thanks. 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful weekend my friend…proud of ya 🙂

  2. Waterbaby says:

    I'm so glad you recorded those details that you remember, not for us (though I absolutely enjoyed reading them) but for yourself. The mind and emotions work in unusual ways around death and passages. You're right about the last pic, it's magical and sci-fi!

  3. Emjay says:

    Life is random and life is unfair. You have shown remarkable strength during this difficult first year Ellen. That last photo is truly amazing!

  4. Thanks Raymond. No, I actually didn't think it would. Then again, it isn't really. Somehow, maybe, you don't ever recover to become the same person you used to be, but become somebody else entirely, for better or for worse.. 🙂 As for the birds, I thought it was all very appropriate. When I saw them and that day being such a milestone in my life, I think about the evenfs of the past year, I think about your parting with Tic-Tac as well as Nikki's struggle with her family's past and… somehow, Emjay's foot. 😛 And somehow, someway, we managed to get to today. Isn't it funny… almost as if we are swept here, whether we like to … or not.. 🙂

  5. Thanks Waterbaby.. 🙂 It's funny how I can put these details down now… but it almost feels like I'm talking about myself in third person. Haha. 🙂 Thanks for the kind words 🙂

  6. Thanks Apolline. I used to feel that way… about the injustice. But it doesn't feel that way now. It feels exactly as it should be. 🙂

  7. Thanks Nikki …. for being my listening ear also during the hardest first few months and your encouragement and kind advice. I feel like you've journeyed with me virtually from then till now. 🙂

  8. Waterbaby says:

    I think that's perfectly normal. And you're welcome. 🙂

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