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This Little Light of Mine
It’s been hard to take photographs of myself recently, unable to avoid the effects the last 18 months have had on my face. The added pounds, the deeper lines, the eyes that can’t hide the things I’m working through inside.
But I am getting more comfortable in my skin again, looking to see myself, and not just my memory. Beyond that, I’m taking time to find my own face, and not hers.
On this trip I’ve been forcing myself to take pictures of myself, even if I hate them and don’t ever show the world. But I cannot erase myself.
We are both transitioning, my mother and I, into our own respective disease phases. Me, an adult now. A woman; my primary role isn’t child, but independent being.
She is changing, too, and the lessons her illness are teaching are now different (“what it means to love someone who is very far away”). Now “healthy” mom is a worn-out memory: Often, when I think about the “good times” it’s when the disease was already here, just less bad, because those memories are the most clear from all the time I actually had with my mother.
This ache is difficult and sobering. But I must lean into it; continuing to acknowledge that while I am from her, I am not her, that I must find ways to keep both our lights shining.