We held a memorial event for my mom two days ago. She passed away from brain cancer in early 2020 and my life was changed forever. At our property on beautiful Kangaroo Island, around 20 people turned up, some from the USA and some from Adelaide.
After tributes, my dad and I kayaked out to sprinkle moms ashes into the bay by our home on North Cape. She had wanted us to 'feed the lobsters' with her ashes. They will be happy.
Kangaroo Island is a very special place for me. I have roamed the hillsides and stumbled the pebbled shores many times in search of adventure. In the twilit magic hours, I feel the power of the landscape beckon me across the dry grassy knolls, finding majesty in every thing, living or not.
I don't know if all the guests felt this magic, as they seemed concerned with the amount of walking required to ascend back up to the house from the beach, but I am grateful for whoever decided to show up. Around half of them waited for a car trip up instead of the hard climb, but I raced ahead. Needing to be alone amongst the impassive bleached white rocks and dry grass for a moment.
I am drowning in a abyss of "PTSD" (grief, despair, trauma, whatever you wanna cruelly diminish down to a 4 letter word) at any given moment. The only things that pull me out of it is focusing on something else; such as good storytelling conversation, (trying to) draw, dancing, game programming (sometimes), writing (narrative or blogs) and music appreciation. Those pastimes are basically all I got to distract me from a physical and mental pain I feel tensing my body, something that says I am worthless (in intimate ways I wont mention here) and that dying is an easier option than enduring this constant hell. I can't tell if my psychological wounds are healing.
Weirdly, somedays the pain fades down to nothing, on those days I accept, hey, I eat, sleep and shit like everyone else. I decide then to put up boundaries that say, hey I've been through hell. I respect myself where others wont understand this hurt. I need to go about life with cloth dressings on these wounds and armour on top, just to survive in a world that doesn't understand how to not 'press buttons' which hurt me. So I have to be strong in navigating this world, not getting triggered when people use the word 'psychotic' unbelievably wrong, in the fact that people ask why I'm not doing animations, blah blah more petty shit that isn't worth the words on the screen.
Yet my mom was unbelievably strong in the face of cancer, something to truly cry about. I know she would want me to be tougher. If I couldn't draw, she would remind me I'm still Vela. She would probably tell me to do crocheting or underwater basket weaving, something new, or she would probably tell me my art was still great. I don't know.
It feels like she is with me till this day, I have moments thinking "Oh shouldn't mom be here right now?" more often than not. I thought this when we gathered down at the beach. I also am a spiritual person now and tentatively believe in the afterlife, but I won't get into that.
I have witnessed mystifyingly beautiful things along this journey called life. I'm especially grateful for every day I can do a little doodle like the ones below, it may not happen every day but that's all it has to be. When I was out there kayaking, I remember I'm not Vela-the-Amazingly-Awesome-Artist-Who-Needs-to-Prove-Herself-to-Everyone.
I'm Vela. The little feisty redheaded daughter of Susie and Alan.
That, I'll always be.