Every night Mama Eula wakes up, gets out of bed, puts on her stockings, shoes and coat, opens the blinds and turns all the lights on. Sometimes she does it multiple times a night. My grandfather usually gets up with her, turns off the lights and tries to get her back to bed. Last night around 1am, I saw light streaming in from under my door so I jumped out of bed and went to see what she was up to. I found her in my coat on her way towards the car.
“Where are you going?” I asked her. She touched her fingers to her lips and didn’t answer. “You’re wearing my coat.” I pointed out. “Am I?” she asked. I held up hers. She looked down and smiled, “suure enough!” As she took mine off, her thin silk slip almost slipped off her shoulders. I handed her her own coat and took mine. After buttoning up, I set my camera down for a middle of the night self-potrait.
to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you,
its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then hold your life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.”
Ellen Bass, Resilience