You are Here


Despite your absence, you are here. Like lightning in the dark of night, flashes of images of you break into my life without warning, lasting a few mere seconds before reality pinches me, and your face is out of sight.


Not entirely sure if I'm dreaming or awake, I continue on, yearning to see you again, unsure of when that might be. Those brief glimpses of memories with you haunt me in the most beautiful way. They are all that is left of you, they are all I have. Their frailty terrifies me.


I see you, often. I see you in my day-to-day, in the seemingly mundane moments. As we near the anniversary of your parting from this world, I see you more often. Memories and emotions triggered by sounds, textures and smells. I mostly see you lying still and unaware on your bed in the hospice, your face gaunt, your eyes cloudy but not quite closed, your breathing laboured. I see the blue gown you wore, that last time I saw you, with the little bouquets of purple flowers scattered throughout. But I only remember one bouquet, it so vividly comes to mind, time and time again.


It lay softly on your collarbone, rising up and down with the pulse of your blood. I remember this particular bouquet because I stared at it for the majority of my last visit with you. Every time your lungs stopped breathing, another bout of apnea, a rush of anxiety coursed through me. Gripped with fear I'd stare at the single bouquet, reassured by its faithful rhythmic beat. As long as that bouquet was moving, I knew you were still with us, still here, still present.


I feared that the day you left us you would be gone forever. But you weren't, you aren't. You come back, in those flashes of delight, those images playing across my mind with such clarity, as if I could reach out and touch you. But you are here, not in the way you were before, but you are here. Not only in the jolts of memory that pierce my days, but in the everywhere. You are present. You are here.

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All photos belong to and are copyright of Vanessa Voth unless stated otherwise.

Photo of Vanessa and her family was taken by Rebecca Sehn.

Langley, British Columbia

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