steadfast

Holding onto the flowers for my Mom, in condolence of her passing, has been steadfast.  Six months.  I think to myself, let’s allow the flowers to be as it will be.  If they fall, which some have, that is their fate.  If they stand, then we will provide the space for it.  My Mom wanted nothing more than to be let be after she left us.  And we did.  We carried out all her wishes.

My Dad, until his heart’s content, will hold on to these flowers, that day, the day everyone came together to pray for her wellbeing as she began her journey into the afterlife.  Our family and friends adorned our fireplace with flowers and foliage to ease our pain and to have a place for our eyes to rest, on the beauty of what nature brings as we mourned so hard that evening.  The power of the beginning  of her journey was so forceful and loud that night.  As the priest prayed and spoke from his understanding and over a hundred people sang hymns, tornado sirens were screaming in the background, the home instantly and simultaneously filled with the sounds of numerous smart phones alarming of severe weather and possible tornado.  Even amongst the bizarre machine frenzy those who were “present” did not move, did not heed to the shrieking advice from their phones to take shelter.  There was an unwavering loyalty to her prayer.  See to me, clearly it was my Mom, making herself present for us in the most unforgettable and obvious ways.  She was always practical and really just to the point. In our Orthodox tradition, they say the first 40 days the soul of the deceased stays with us and at the 40th day they begin their afterlife with God.  My Dad is very much steeped in this belief.  And her power and presence was real.  I acknowledged my Mom that day and I confirmed that with my sister.   The truth is I still acknowledge her everyday, numerous times a day.

The tradition of visiting a small carved out section of earth where our loved one may lay to rest is not an option for us.  For us it happens at home.  A forever message my Mom has left for us.

Loud and clear Mommy.

Oh how these flowers conjures up so much for me.

light & love

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vintage corelle dishes

These vintage Corelle dishes are not merely ordinary tableware; tableware probably familiar in most of our childhood homes and most likely still in production. These bring me back to my childhood at the dinner table! That’s where we are now, my children spending quality time with Grandpa and I get to feed them from the same bowls my Mom used to feed me and my sister.

In photography, natural light is what we chase and desire; and sometimes even harsh light. And in this image I made no exception. I can’t help but enjoy the collaboration of light shining down on my Mom’s chair, as to illuminate her former presence.

Also you know you’re in a Malayalee household when there’s a couple bottles of pickles on the table from last night’s dinner 😉

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a lifetime of assorted hangers

A lifetime of assorted hangers….accrued during her time in her second home, America. Although she had proudly claimed America as her one and only home. Hangers collected, moved from apartment to apartment, to home, to home, and to her final home for her clothes. All the colors, shapes, sizes of these hangers in this image in a way illustrates the decades she lived, worked, shopped, etc…in America.
The clothes which hung from these hangers dressed my Mom for many years. Now they hang empty. Every article of clothing folded and packed for charity. I made sure to handle each quietly with attention and care. Holding the shoulders of each familiar shirt to fold knowing it once hung on the shoulders of an undoubtedly strong and loving woman, ached so deeply. One of the hardest jobs for a child to carry out.

light & love

 

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we see our very own matriarch at her finest

 

My Mother-in-law just came back from a visit to India and brought back a bunch of goodies! So we were inspired by our new outfits and also being in my parents’ home for this photo shoot.
Being in and moving throughout the same space my Mom adored, her home, inspired this shoot. We incorporated one of my Mom’s red saris. She has so many saris. And the one we used is considered very plain, very basic; yet still beautiful and a striking red. Growing up in an Indian household, looking at our Mothers with adoring eyes once their saris were wrapped, draped and pinned just in the right place is a sentiment we all have shared :: we see our very own matriarch at her finest. It always pleased me to see my Mom all dolled up, either for a typical Sunday service at church or on the weekend for a family friend’s party or special occasions like weddings. I’ll never forget her many days draped in saris.

My Mom would have been over the moon to see my children in these new Indian outfits and would probably declare them as her Indian Princess and Prince!

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her signature, her inspirational spark

 

My son’s first violin recital :: my Mom and Dad with flowers in hand and beaming with the proudest smile about to embrace my son after his very first performance.

See that smile, she was always a bit self-conscious about her smile. I secretly envied her slight overbite; I thought it made her smile even more joyful and unique, her signature. I miss that smile, the laughter, her inspirational spark…everything that came with that beautiful smile.

I think we all study our parents’ nuances, the way they carry themselves, how they move through daily activities and then let it influence how we choose to do things or not and our personalities. I like to smile and laugh a lot; I value my sense of humor thanks to my Mom. I’ll always remember how I would try so hard to provoke her laughter, that smile…it extraordinarily centered me in whatever moment my Mom and I were ever in.
light & love