Monday, July 13, 2009

an inside glimpse

I've been hesitant about showing my readership some of the more candid moments that have been immortalized by our cameras, but in reviewing some of the pictures Dad has taken (his camera contains hundreds of photos that he apparently hasn't downloaded to his hard drive), I found a few that might give you, Dear Reader, some idea about the cast of characters swirling around us as this cancer drama unfolds. Two of the photos also show you how Mom looked until recently, with her head heavily bandaged. The fourth photo, which shows Mom gingerly gripping a baby's hand in one of her own, choked me up a bit: it says so much about where Mom is, mentally speaking. Mom can no longer express complex thoughts; it's quite possible that she is no longer capable even of entertaining such thoughts. She is, however, still able to respond properly to the simple things in life. She no longer does so with the same light that used to inhabit her eyes, but in a sense, the light is still there, visible in her outreaching hands.

The first photo is of Maqz, Sean's chihuahua, dozing blissfully in a sunbeam. Maqz has been a part of Mom's life for a few years, now; she loves that dog. It's a shame that she hasn't seen Maqz since early May, but our caution about infection has played a role in Maqz's absence. At some point, though, we do want Maqz back in the house.

The second photo is of my i-mo (pronounce it "ee-moh"), i.e., Mom's big sister, who left the Houston area to visit us for two weeks. She'll be back here again sometime soon, I think. I've written about my aunt before; she's one of the major characters in this story.

The third and fourth photos show Mom with one of her oldest friends, the lady whom we kids always knew as "Miss Lee ajumma." Even after all these years, I still don't know her given names. That's true for a lot of Koreans, who address friends and relatives by using titles as a sign of respect. The baby is Ziggy, Ajumma's grandson, the son of her second daughter. Also shown in the final picture is Ajumma's youngest daughter.

I hesitated about showing the pictures of Mom, but the way that these images pulled at my heart impelled me to share them with you. They're just moments, of course-- here and gone-- but they retain a certain quiet beauty. Kudos to Dad for taking such great shots.



Elisson said...

Thank you for sharing this heartbreaking beauty with us.

One day, I hope to sit down with you and "talk story" about our mothers. I hope beyond hope that your Mom may have a speedy and complete recovery. For sure, she has a son she can be proud of.

Kevin said...

Thanks, Elisson. Alas, with glioblastoma multiforme, there's never a happy ending. Reconciling ourselves with that fact has been one of the hardest aspects of this whole ordeal. That is, I suppose, a large part of what gives these photos their meaning.

We all die eventually, of course, but that's somehow hard to remember when you're healthy. A cancer like Mom's reminds us that what's true for Mom applies to all of us: this moment is all we have, and will never come again.


Nomad said...


Yes, thank you for sharing not only these photos, but all the moments, both good and bad, that have unfolded so far.

Take care.