Photos of the last two years

2020, Early 'Rona

I had just gotten my first software dev job in July of 2019. Rona hit in March and I was let go. I was so burned out from that job that I decided to take a break, a year long one, to persue photography and filmmaking.

The year was nice to those who were unemployed and so I picked up tons of gear. Here are some of the photos from that time.
2020 Mid-Year

I was fully into the whole filmmaker/photographer thing, even thinking about giving up software development to pursue it. I had a Squarespace site and portfolio and everything! Isn't that what the "pros" do? :D

The second image was from a photo shoot and video essay I did with a friend of mine.
End of 2020
My mom went in for knee surgery in October. I told her I thought she should wait as she was having other health problems, but she insisted. I felt super uneasy about it, but she was 74 and she could make her own decisions.
She got done with the surgery and went into a nursing home to recover. It was a terrible place, which I had to call everyday to make sure they cleaned her incisions, gave her pain meds and a compress for her knee, and give her her meds. I could hardly reach them and when I did call they were super short with me.

I noticed when I began to talk to my mom how different she sounded; lethargic. Her answers to my questions were basically one word, and she was tired all the time.

She finally got home and I was happy but concerned. She wouldn't stay off her feet, but she also wasn't eating. She'd eat crackers and broth. I begged her to eat because she was diabetic. She was so happy about losing weight over the years that that was her refrain when I begged her to eat something.

Eventually I had to stop over to her house and bring her Glucerna and force her to drink it.

By December I was pretty distraught about the whole thing so I went out and took some photos of around my neighborhood, and some obligatory food shots.

The blue selfie was taken for my therapist as I was struggling with serious depression at this point.


The first image was taken at Walmart for my first jab. The second one was after visiting my mom.

At this time she was barely coherent. Over Christmas she was her old, ornery but fun, charismatic self. But as time wore on, she stopped bathing and she knew she should but she didn't have the energy. She wasn't a neat freak but she liked organized clutter. However she couldn't clean either. She said to me, "this place is a mess but I have a headache and I am tired." She said this a lot.

One day my uncle was over there and my mom went to the bathroom and she fell against the wall and couldn't get up. They took her to the er, where she stayed in the hospital. She had sepsis but what really struck me about it was... she was practically non-verbal. I'd ask her, "how are you mom?" and she'd say, "I'm fine" but there wasn't anything behind it, it was hollow.

Her blood pressure dropped, several times. They elimintaed her sepsis and shse was well enough to return home. I was skeptical. And I knew that it was dementia because of the previous couple years of extreme forgetfulness. It seemed to have accelerated. I told my family this but of couse, I am the one with the mental illness in the family so I am not qualified to speak on these things. But I knew better.

I talked to the doctor who I relayed this to. We talked at length about this and she asked me if I was in the medical field which I wasn't, of course, but she said she couldn't tell which felt flattering and vindicating of just how much I understood my mom's health.
Early 2021, cont

This part of the year was the most traumatic experience I've ever had in my life, a life that has been marred with trauma from birth. My mom was dying, I knew that. My family was in denial of course but I knew what was happening.

My mom wasn't eating and the doctor said to me, "we can put a feeding tube in, that will help her to get nutrients but" and I told him, "that's just prolonging the inevitable. Don't put the feeding tube in. Let her go."

I spoke to mom a few times while she was at the nursing home and there were moments where her personality shined through. No in person visits as COVID was still bad, so the nurses would FaceTime me so I could talk to my mom. One time when it was time for us to hang up, a nurse said, "say goodbye to your daughter" and my mom said, "that's not my daughter, that's my sister Renee. Well I gotta get ready the Share A Ride van is coming, need to be at the gym at 5. Talk to you later Renee, love ya bye". You'd think her not recognizing me would hurt but it didn't.

This was a bad time, no job, my mom dying. But then my therapist of three years, most definitely the best therapist I've ever had and I've been in therapy since I was 12, decided to leave the clinic I was being seen at. Her last day was March 25, 2021.

I completely lost it. I said things I should not have in an email, and was promptly shackled and put in a paddywagon, where if I didn't sign myself into the hospital they would commit me involuntarily. I did what I needed to and went in.

I got out a week before my mom passed away.

Till this day I can't watch or listen to or go certain places, the CPTSD is too much.

After I got out I decided I wanted to adopt a cat.
Mid 2021

On my local Humane Society Facebook page there was this cute little cat named Gnidora. She was rescued with 16 other cats as part of hoarding situation about 100 miles away from where I live. She had been in the shelter for 6 mos; she was hard to socialize and she was super skittish and shy, so no one wanted her. She was 8, and broken, and scared and so was I. I decided I wasn't going to let that baby stay there and we went to go adopt her.

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Damn, you‘ve been through the wringer! Glad we can be here to hear your story. We are good listeners. I’ll be waiting for the next installments. It was 30 years ago I lost my mom in a similar way, with little support. Reading your story has stirred some old memories and feelings.

So glad to meet Gigi! A beautiful girl……
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