Hands of a Caregiver | Last Installment

June 29, 2017

This past Father's Day we celebrated my dad's life and the one year anniversary of his death. It's only fitting that I finally complete the photo project I started when he was sick. My mom had a priest come to the house on Father's Day to hold a mass for my family. The priest spoke of grief and how the one year anniversary usually marks the time when we (in the Filipino culture) move on. 

I wish I could tell him that my mom hasn't moved on and is merely existing. She will be for a long time. Who can blame her? She was married to my dad for 49 years and was his full-time caregiver in the years he was sick. 

I wish I could tell the priest that although his words were intended for comfort they irked me in his assumption that moving on was easy. 

The pictures below are from the week before my dad passed away. In his weakened state he still managed to get angry at me for taking his pictures. I pled for a minute but the flick of his hand had the power to make me shuffle out of the room like a chastened five-year-old. 

I documented my mom as his caregiver because for me this is the embodiment of marriage instead of what the perfectly filtered squares on Instagram or Hollywood movies portray. You can't get more authentic than this. Marriage is about selfless service. It's about giving of yourself in the midst of unbearable heartbreak and fear. It's loving someone through the ugliness of disease and impending death. 

I had the choice to be ignorant of the beauty in these images or face them with love and acceptance. Today I have no regrets for doing what I do best. 

[To read my personal account on grief please head over to my personal blog here.]