DEEP BREATH… Here begins what I can only imagine is to be the most personal blog post I am ever likely to make. I’ve always wanted to start adding some more personal content to my website, to speak of what I am doing, provide insight into who I am, to allow clients and anyone who is interested to gain just a little understanding of my approach towards life. I have always wanted to, but never really gotten around to it. Perhaps it is self righteous to feel anyone may be interested, on the other hand I feel such an important element of photography comes from personal connection. When I feel a personal connection with clients my job is practically done for me, we all drop our guard and the process of capturing someone’s essence, for lack of a better word becomes a mere act of pushing a button.
With that being said I never thought I would see the day I was laying in bed typing this post. What is to follow is really just a cathartic exercise for me, a chance to purge mentally and physically. Physically through the form of tears, shaking and the urge to vomit as I revisit delicate emotions my mind and body has dealt with through the numbing of all emotions, good, bad or otherwise.
In recent times my beautiful mother was taken from me at the all too young age of 60. I speak of the loss that I feel, yet at the same time I feel incredibly sad that she is no longer able to experience the gamut of offerings life may have presented. More of the travel that she loved? Seeing her son get married? Perhaps even becoming a Grandmother? Who knows what the future could have held, whatever it may have been there will always be a void I feel in knowing such experiences are not entirely complete without my mother experiencing them alongside me. But I guess that is the cycle of life, right?
For the past few months of my mothers life she existed almost entirely in a state of hospitalisation as her kidney’s, liver and pancreas went into failure. It is truly horrendous having to watch someone you care so deeply about go through such an awful physical experience. I can only imagine how tough it must have been for her mentally, yet at the same time my mother is the strongest person I have ever known. Physically, by the time of her death her body was bruised and battered from head to toe, her arms purple from the many cannula’s doctors struggled to insert into her tiny and thus difficult veins. Her neck skewed by a cumbersome dialysis catheter and her stomach swollen from fluid buildup which needed constant draining via taps. What was even harder was to see was episodes of confusion and altered consciousness as toxins circulated to her brain. As my protector, my rock, the one person who I knew would always be there for me, without judgement and without question it is a shocking role reversal to see this person become vulnerable and fragile.
For the five years prior to her death my mother went through one hell of a time with illness, on many occasions doctors warned us she may not be walking out of the hospital, yet each time she bounced back and surprised staff with her will and strength. Lymphoma and bowel cancer, fungal pneumonia, golden staph, each nearly taking her life.
The last 3 weeks of my mothers life were spent in intensive care at RPA. She was number one on the transplantation recipient list in NSW, awaiting a donor organ which specialists believed would save her life. This 3 week period was the longest of my life, an emotional roller coaster each time the phone rang… could this be the call we are all waiting for? Has a donor organ become available? It was an odd time, wishing, wanting, hoping an organ would become available, yet at the same time knowing this would mean another person had died and another family was experiencing the turmoil we were. A donor was never found. At 5:07 on a monday evening my mothers heart slowed to it’s last beat. I never really got to say goodbye as she had unexpectedly and quickly slipped into unconsciousness earlier that day.
It’s kind of funny I guess, given the fact that I am a photographer, but I have very few photos of my mum and I, I really wish I had more, but at the same time the couple I have I value so deeply.
Anyway, here are a few photos that work to tell the story of the strongest, most supportive, most loving, clever, honest, down to earth and genuine person I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I am truly honoured to be a part of this woman and to have been raised the way I was. My father died when I was five, I’m an only child, we lived a modest life yet we had something amazing. We had each other.
This is my mother. Her name is Deborah.
I would do anything to spend just one more minute with her.