I look through the viewfinder of the old Box Brownie camera and carefully compose the picture.
The shutter clicks softly.
A picture of a memory. A picture for my mother. A picture of a place she knew and loved.
A letter in pictures.
I miss my mum. Her death was a significant turning point in my life. Not only was I losing the person that I loved dearly but I was losing the person who loved me in a way that no-one else did and perhaps never will. My mother lived her life for me; I was the centre of her universe. When so much of what she had was taken from her, in one way or another, I was the only thing that gave her life meaning and joy. So part of my sadness is her sadness, she didn’t want to leave me; it was like leaving part of herself behind.
Spending every day with her in the last months of her life was truly a gift. A gift that only a mother can give. Even in death her desire was to nurture, in the way only mothers can. My whole life came into sharp focus and I realised that I needed to make significant changes to my lifestyle and choices. Ultimately I saw that I needed to respect and value my life.
Now, after I have made some of those changes, I would love to share them with my mum. I would love her to know that I am happy and am doing well. More than anything I would love to tell her that I have come home. Home to Worthing. My mother loved Worthing; it was her birthplace and where she was happiest.
Photographs were always important to my mum. Especially photographs of her family and friends that were no longer alive. Treasured memories; a reassurance of her identity. My mother and I lived some distance apart in the last ten years of her life. She had moved to the Midlands and I was living in Brighton. We used to send each other photographs in the post as a way of keeping close. Quiet photographs of things we knew the other would appreciate; sunlight on some flowers in a vase, a tree coming into bloom in the garden, light falling through trees on a summers evening.
So now my mother is gone I have written her a letter. A letter of pictures. Made with a Box Brownie camera similar to the one she used when I was a child. It produces soft watery images. So soft that perhaps they can slip behind the curtain of life and carry my thoughts to her…..