I’ve just shared my February Project Life pages. The pages for March (at least the beginning of the month) are of a very different nature. My father passed away on March 4th. It was sudden and unexpected even though he was not in the best of health. My father lived in South Africa, I’m in Hong Kong, my sister is in Sydney, my mother in Montreal. This meant that we were coming from three different continents onto another one to deal with the aftermath of his passing.
It was a very moving and emotional two weeks. I wanted to include them in my PL album because it is a place for what is happening in our lives. It is real life. For my husband and my children (and for me too), those days were not just sad but also happy. It was quite something to be happily reunited as a family but for a very sad reason. Here is how I approached documenting these events.
I took a lot of pictures because I had the feeling that I was not only saying goodbye to my father, but also to this place where he lived. So the layouts are photo heavy, but in a serene way (or at I least I think they are serene). SA is such a beautiful place and it felt so good to breathe fresh air after all the pollution in Hong Kong. I think the pictures convey a lot of the feelings that were swirling in my mind. I did include a few cards, but let the colors or the sentiments guide which ones I chose.
Here is a closer look. The week of March 3 to 9 is on two spreads. On the right are the pictures from Hong Kong. Getting that call at 3 in the morning, coming to terms with what has happened and feeling shocked, confused and sad about it all. The soft flowers on the cards went well with the feelings I was having as we waited to fly out to SA.
On the right, the pictures from Scottburgh, that first weekend.
Snippets from the weekend, photo heavy and color oriented. There is some journaling on a card behind one of the images on the right side.
While we were there, the days all melted in to each other so I’m not really certain of the dates from some of the ocean images. And that’s ok, because I’ve got the major events down. These next pages are March 10 to 16. On the left, the ocean again (we went everyday, it was very healing). On the right, the night we held the wake for my father mixed in with some portraits and old photos of him.
This next spread has some wonderful portraits. I try to show that that week was very intense because it was sad but it was joyful too. And lots of little things happened : my daughter lost her other front tooth, she had fun with the boogie board, my son spent every waking second in the seawater pool and both children were so happy to see their grandmother and auntie.
The next spread is of the Friday morning when we scattered the ashes. I wanted these pages to be a testament to the beauty of that day. I think they convey this perfectly.
And then, just like that it was time to return to Hong Kong. These next pages are for March 15 to 23. The left side is our last day in SA. I love those family shots at the bottom. Since our return, I have been a little blue, but managed a little getaway with my girlfriends and that helped a lot. It gets better, especially since I have such a loving and supporting family.
I wanted to show that documenting loss is also important. To me, this is part of the healing process, part of life. It is better not to pretend it ever happened, to acknowledge it and to give loss and mourning the space they merit. To show that death really is a mix of emotions and that that is ok too. And to pay homage to life well lived and a man well loved.