How do you sum up 60 hours of travel-time, 20 days of changing hemispheres, crossing from summer to winter and back to summer and visiting family down under when you live up top?
When I arrived home in Melbourne and told Mum that seven years was just too long between trips and just four visits in 25 years since leaving Oz is not enough, she told me that she visited her parents in Europe eleven times. Until they died. And then she said that was enough. ”I am tired. If you want to see me, you’ll have to come to visit me.”
This trip was a window of opportunity – between contracts, suddenly no job, but four weeks time to finally do what I knew I really needed and wanted to do, go visit Mum.
Then, instead of complaining about the time being too short, the season being wrong, the rest of my family back in Europe and trying to pack a million activities into the two and a half weeks, I thought, right: Eleven times. Just do what you can and put the rest on the list for next time, or the time after that. So I didn’t come with my family, but I bought myself a camera and recorded my mother in her garden, in her kitchen, in the dining room, in her life.
Only when I got back and looked at those videos <link below> did I suddenly see how old she suddenly looks. She is sitting with the sun shining through the dining room window and you can see all her deep wrinkles. When I talk to her, it is just as it always was. When I watch the video I know, so much time has passed. When I share with colleagues and hear of one whose mother died when she went home, and another who lost her mother-in-law, I am grateful for the inspiration to record these interviews with my mother.
I know there is lot of information there which I do not currently have time to process, but it was important for me to put it together, perhaps to share with the rest of the family. I do not want to take anything for granted. I am glad for this window of opportunity.