Thursday, August 04, 2011
Cherish (part 3)
your mum had lost so much weight. she was nearly a size zero. i kept thinking victoria beckham in my head. i noticed her face had sunken in however. but still, i kept thinking to myself, to lose that much weight in such a short time, she must have worked hard!
before i could tell her how amazing she looked, Kit, my colleague, grabbed me by the wrist and squeezed. i held my words, and shrieked just a little.
"she's got cancer. her husband just told me. i'm freaking out". i froze.
damn it. what do i do know? i literally felt as if i had been dumped into a freezer. i tried to carve a smile, but my whole face was stuck in such an awkward position. now everything made sense. why your dad looked worn out. why he was so angry about the album. why your mum lost so much weight.
oh my gosh. what would happen to you?
Kit squeezed my wrist harder. "shut your mouth and smile".
the missus was looking my way and i was stunned with all the thoughts running through my head. i forced a hello, not sure if it could be heard. then she came my way.
"from your expression, i'm guessing you heard", your mum said as she took my hand. "i don't have much time, the doctor confirmed it. so the important thing now, is for me to spend as much time with my family. to make memories. as many as possible," she said as she wiped the tears that had welled up, "and you've been taking wonderful pictures, i want you to continue doing that for us. i don't know how the future will be. i pray he'll grow up to be a strong boy. nevertheless, he needs to know i'm there for him in the toughest situations. it's going to be hard, i can't imagine. one day he will miss me and he'll have so many questions. he'll probably get into an argument with his dad, and i pray and hope these pictures will provide him some comfort. i won't be there, this is all he has."
i blinked and managed a weak "okay", as she proceeded to get ready for the shoot.
i could not fathom all that was going on. why would life present itself in such an ugly manner? give you happiness, then just pull it back from right under your feet? it's like a teasing game. give you a taste of what you could have, then saying you can't have it. why would anyone have to subject themselves through this unjust? how would you ever comprehend this? i could not.
then your dad came over and said, "i would like him to know how much she loves him. i can't think of any other way than through these pictures. he needs to know his mum loves him. he needs to know she never left him. he needs to remember being with her".
it felt as if the world started moving in slow motion, if it did not already stop. i tried to put myself into their shoes. but even as a passerby, this was torture. seeing such a strong structure slowing crumbling into pieces, i wondered, what really mattered in this world then? if this does not last, if this is how the fight ends, should we just give up already?
"it's not always about forever. sometimes it's about whatever little time you have that matters. the memories you make, you cherish them forever. at least, you tried. at least, you had them even if it was just for one moment. i hope one day, he'll understand".
was my thoughts being played out on a megaphone? your dad's words seem to nail the spot. then he asked me a favour, one i had never done, or even our company.
"the day she goes, will not be the happiest day. but she insist, it should be a celebration of life, instead of a day welcoming death. i don't know how i'm going to be on that day, but when it comes, i'll try to remember her wishes. she wants everyone to remember her for the laughter she has shared, the memories she has made, the smiles she has given and brought to others. that is why, i'm asking you a favour, if you would take her memorial portrait today. she doesn't want a portrait that our family and friends would not recognize her, or one that as she puts it 'wouldn't compliment' her. she looks good today", he said with a wry smile.
as your mom took her seat and adjusted her dress, i held my breath as i had held my words. i picked up my camera.
(some stories need to be told)