In the fall of 1989, when I was four years old, my mom had a stroke. ⠀

Earlier that year, after experiencing excruciating, unexplainable headaches, she was diagnosed with four brain aneurysms. She underwent two surgeries to treat them. During the second surgery, our lives changed forever. ⠀

My mom came out of the second operation a different person. She came out of that operation a stroke survivor. She came out of that operation mentally and physically disabled.⠀

I’m still dealing with the ramifications of that trauma. I try to tell myself I was lucky. I don’t remember her before her stroke, so I don’t remember who I lost. But the truth is, I lost my mother. In some cases, I had to be the parent. Our relationship was forever changed, but still, what a beautiful relationship it was. Despite everything that happened to her, she was the most optimistic person in my life. She brought light and love everywhere she went. ⠀

Still, we both struggled. She struggled when she couldn’t always find the right words or needed help with mundane daily activities, like bringing a laundry basket up the stairs. I struggled to find the safety and guidance only a mother could provide. And I was embarrassed. Fearful, I didn’t want to bring my friends around the house because my mom was different. Thankfully, my friends showed me there was nothing to be afraid of. They loved my mom, just as I did. ⠀

When I made this film, it felt like a weight had been lifted. I was finally able to tell the world about my mom in a meaningful way. In turn, she was able to open up about my Dad’s cancer diagnosis. I felt relieved to share my grief, as well as hers. ⠀

I hope this film not only gives insight to my life’s journey but also shows we're not alone in grief, whatever it may be. 
Producer: Jessica Thom
Cinematographer: Robert Neapetung


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