Loss & Love.
I went back home earlier this year. Not because it was time for my annual trip back home or because I was going just for fun.
I got the call.
The one I have been dreading since I left home. The one I have been terrified of receiving and brings me to tears every time I go back home for a visit. My grandmother was gone. No matter what, I still had another 14-16 hours before I could see my family. Living 3,296.9 miles away from them always makes me feel a sort of regret. I love the things I've been able to accomplish since first leaving Miami and moving to Seattle, but you can't help but feel as though you betrayed the ones who matter most, and that destroys me.
I was blessed with the opportunity to be able to spend this time with my family, truly. I got to spend a whole two weeks with them. My grandfather and I are very close. The hardest goodbyes are with him, without a doubt. It's him who always breaks me down, at 91 years of age, I can't help but wonder if every time I have to say goodbye, if it will be the last. Being able to spend the quality time and sit next to him at the dinner table; that's my spot, right next to him.
After all, he's what inspired my photography. He taught me how to love having a camera with you, all the time. He always mentioned about when he traveled, he would always have his camera dangling around his neck. When I was a child, he used to put me on his shoulders, I remember reaching for it and of course, he would worry that I would drop it, so he would slightly reprimand me, but not too much. :)
Miami doesn't hold back from reminding me how much I really do miss being there. Being minutes away from friends and family seems surreal at times. I took those minutes for granted. Not being able to rush to their side right when it happened, those are the moments that kill you. Who is there to console you? Who can you break down with who feels the same amount of pain as you do. Somehow being with that person and sharing the heartbreak makes it feel better. When I met with my sister at the airport, I could feel her emanating the same heartbreak. She was my one piece of home in Seattle, lucky to have her there otherwise, that trip alone would've been so much worse to endure.
Photography gives me therapy. Every time I visit home, it's my ability to freeze time itself. It's how I am able to visually relive every second that I spent at home and cherish all of those memories. This photo was taken last year when I visited my grandparents. Pictured, my beautiful grandmother. She loved me and everyone in a way that was truly remarkable. Every trip that I made to Miami, I always made sure to snap a photo of my grandfather and grandmother. I don't know why, but I always felt obligated to and now more than ever, I am so thankful I did.
As I mentioned, therapy. This is how I cope, lose myself, free my mind, and get to create long-lasting, tangible memories. I took one day out of my two week visit to go out and do just that, release.
Everyone says it gets easier but the truth is, it doesn't. That hole stays in your heart. You try to fill it with distractions but, whenever reality sinks in or you are alone, it drains the hole again, leaving you in pain. I constantly have to tell myself that this is life, this is how it goes and there is nothing we can do about it except appreciate and cherish the time we do have with them. The truth is, it could happen to me, it could happen to anyone, at any time. So yes, I have to be thankful that I have been able to have them in my life for this long but, I am selfish and that's the part I can't cope with.