I sat with my mother today, held tight to her hand, and listened to the words swirling around me, creating the funeral for one of her close friends of almost 50 years. So complicated, this life. Perhaps that should be capitalized. Life.
My mother has recently turned 80. She is healthy and independent and remains fierce in her incredible quest to always be positive. There are, to be sure, chinks in that armor. I have seen them all of my life, the cracks that show her humanity. But just as quickly as they are exposed, she deftly swipes a hand and you would be a fool to argue that they were ever there.
She has always taken pictures, my mother. I can’t remember her not having a camera somewhere nearby. The boxes of pictures and shelves of albums are a testament to her determination to freeze time, over and over again. At some point, when I was a teen, my father declared that a portion of the basement was going to become her darkroom. The handy-man came, knocked down walls or put them up (I was a teen, so this is all quite hazy) and somehow a small space was created for my mom to turn the rolls of film into the pictures of our life. Life.
My father’s failures were exposed when his body failed, leaving my mother alone in that house, with a darkroom that was no longer necessary due to the digital revolution. It was probably no coincidence that when she no longer needed the darkroom the darkroom was no longer a viable option. The house sold, she relocated & her pictures now evolve in a light filled room, overlooking a lovely golf course, using technology that includes powerful computers, complicated software and printers that necessitate extremely expensive paper and ink.
There is a lot to be said, about all of this. Life. My mother is a vibrant force and I wept today not just for her friend but for the inevitabilities. For the inevitable. Life.