Losing someone never seems to get easier, especially when that someone is your mother. Admittedly, the pain doesn’t seem as raw and intense as it did back in 2011, just days before Christmas when Mom was dying of complications from scleroderma and a number of ailments such as pulmonary hypertension and congestive heart failure in a hospital room in Wahiawa. Then subsequently, her passing. It was just as she had wanted. No prolonged stays in the hospital. No nursing homes. No life support for weeks, months, years on end. When her body was ready to give up the fight, so was her soul. Just 9 days after she was admitted, she left us. For years, she struggled with numerous ailments that she bravely fought through without so much of a complaint. Even in the midst of surgeries and treatments, she rarely ever complained about pain or discomfort.
One thing she did complain about, however, was getting her photo taken. I literally have an old Super-8 silent film clip of Mom running away from my Dad as he is trying to get her to smile and wave for the camera.
Today, I stumbled upon my old digital camera archives that went back to the year 2000. Sadly, of the literally thousands of photos that I had taken over the past 16 years, my mom’s beautiful smile only graced a handful.
I wanted to show Lil’ K old photos of her Baba (obaachan, grandmother), but there were not many to share. I lamented about missed opportunities to capture photos of memories long past and now the opportunity is gone forever.
As I looked through my archives starting in 2008 (the year of my daughter’s birth), I discovered that photos of myself was also small in number. Hundreds of photos of my daughter in various poses, in different outfits, making funny faces, and just being herself… but rarely one of me. I thought, “who wants to see me anyway? Everyone is more interested in seeing the cute baby — not this pudgy mommy with unkempt hair and no makeup.”
Besides, I am usually the one wielding the camera. The curse of the photographer is that she is seldom the one being photographed.
And admittedly, lately, I have hardly made much of an effort to take any photos at all. Lil’ K’s photographic record between ages 5 & 7 is sadly lacking. I had upgraded to an Android Note 3 at that time and was extremely disappointed by the photo quality of the camera which deterred me from using it. I realize that my Android is a PHONE, not a CAMERA and that I have a real camera that I can use instead but laziness has gotten the better of me lately. I understand that the convenience factor is not a valid excuse.
Down the line (hopefully many decades from now) when I am gone, I don’t want Lil’ K to lament about how she doesn’t have photos of her mom. Or of herself, for that matter. By being camera shy, self-conscious, or just plain lazy, I am truly doing a disservice to Lil’ K.
I am taking this as my wake up call to start taking more photos again. Even if it means lugging this heavy DSLR around. I will do it to document life, our family, and all those memories that would otherwise be lost if not for dusty old pixels.
Who knows, maybe I’ll even get ambitious and start doing vlogs again. Lil’ K certainly has a fascination with media, especially video, so who knows, she might be the next up and coming YouTuber in the family.