Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Monday 25th May

Sometimes Mum can seem so close and, at others, not quite with me, but just somewhere round a corner. Tonight Carl and I went to the photographic group meeting and wandered around the Wanderers Club (no pun…) taking photos. It was something that Mum would have enjoyed no end and she was there, I’m sure, just around another bend in the driveway, or a corner in the building, clicking away.

I have absolutely no idea how to explain the idea of a human soul, or what happens after a person dies, but I do know that both Mum and Dad are with all of us all the time and will continue to be so.

I have become so aware of taking photographs and constructing the image in the last few days, as Dani had a project about identity I was helping her with and part of the project was to take a photographic portrait.

When we get a chance to reflect on our world in any way, I think that’s when our essence comes out in some form. I know that, when I write something creative, I put a whole lot of me into it, often without really realising it. Especially when I write poetry, the words seem to say more than I may have consciously thought they might.

This happened to Sarah. She had an English assignment that involved writing a poem and then analysing it.  The impetus for her poem was about Mum and her passing and her relationship with Dad. She wrote a really insightful and moving poem, which communicated on a whole lot of levels. Her mark reflects how successful both the poem and her analysis were.

Photography is like that, too. Sometimes you take a photograph that you are very, very careful about and will compose and purposefully include things that you think will say something. Then, you will just take a ‘snap’ because you want to record the moment. Both pictures can say volumes and can be read by different people in so many ways.

I suppose a whole lot of what I do in the world is about interpretation – understanding English literature, analysing plays and reacting to performances of different kinds – and so I tend to ‘read’ things almost unconsciously all the time.

In many ways, I think we all do that – make sense of what we see and hear, especially at a sub-conscious level. Sarah was telling me about her Communications work and how much of any interchange is communicated almost unconsciously. I think that that level of understanding comes to the surface sometimes and we read things in a bit more depth, often visually.

It’s amazing how many people comment on my hair, especially if they haven’t seen me for a while. I am pretty used to it by now, but it does strike me every-so-often how quickly my hair does grow. I suppose that the absence, and now presence, of my hair has been one of the obvious manifestations of the cancer and something that people could see really progressing, which prompts the comments.

The thicker and curlier my hair gets, the more obvious it is that the chemo is further and further away. I suppose it’s a physical sign of the way my body is getting rid of any last bits of the chemo drugs. It represents the healing.



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