July 2021 might be the toughest month I’ve ever experienced in my life.
Between the three of us at home, my Mom got hit the hardest by the virus infection. She even had to get admitted to the hospital and stayed there in the negative pressure isolation room –alone– for 10 days.
Before she was admitted, I first-handedly experienced how hard it is to be a caretaker. During her home-isolation/ treatment days, I saw how my Mom’s oxygen level and overall health deteriorated right before my eyes.
I used to be both shy to be photographed and reluctant to use my camera phone. But that low point of my life, changed my view quite tremendously about taking pictures and videos to preserve memories of and with my loved ones.
So I took a lot of pictures and videos of her and my Dad. From her just resting in bed, her smiles while video-calling with her grandchildren, the meds she took, and –my personal favorite– picturesque images of her with her nasal cannula connected to the huge oxygen tank, sitting at the edge of the bed chatting with my Dad, watching the sunset through our huge floor-to-ceiling window in the master bedroom.
By the way, she (plus my Dad and myself) made full recovery out of it and now is healthy again. Alhamdulillah.
A COVID-related death that also solidified my will to hoard pictures is the passing of Allahyarhamah Siti Sarah binti Raissuddin, a cheerful artist, singer, businesswoman, wife, and Mom of 4 kids from Malaysia. She and her husband Shuib are both very open about their genuinely happy family and business lives and shared it all almost daily on social media, so they have tons of posts on each of their accounts.
I followed her journey since the first time she announced the positive results of her family’s COVID tests on July 27th. She was 8-months pregnant at that time, and she hasn’t received any vaccination because it was just not yet approved at that time in Malaysia. Since then, Shuib always shared Siti Sarah’s health updates on his social media; posting their pictures, videos, and asking for dhuaa and prayers from everyone. Until on August 9th 2021 at dawn, Siti Sarah passed away, after 2 nights before that, she underwent an emergency surgery to help her new baby boy out.
Shuib and his children’s lives change drastically in only 2 weeks because of her passing. Everyone was sad about it, but also pointed out how lucky Shuib’s family is to have so many memories stored about Siti Sarah’s infectious laughter and smiles while she’s still here.
This year really teaches me how someone could be gone from our lives so suddenly, whether by accident, sickness, their own decisions, or simply takdir. And in this era, technology already made it super easy and simplified for us to remember them and our past sweet togetherness using pictures, videos, and voice notes.
Aside from the sad, sad COVID stories above, my recent disorder diagnoses also affect my view on memories preservations. My doctor helped me to accept other’s opinions more… I would say, apathetically. One of my symptoms is rejection sensitive dysphoria, so, I do care quite a lot about how people will perceive me. But with my new realization, I understand that deep down, for us common people, about 98% of our followers don’t really care about what we post on social media. They viewed them, but skipped them over all the time. Unless it’s something so mind-blowing or earth-shattering.
So, yeah, that’s how COVID made me take more pictures & videos (because I care a lot more about my loved ones) and my psychiatrist made me post more of them on my social media (because I’m sure people don’t care about them as much as I thought they were).
And maybe you need to apply that mindset, too.