My Personal Journey

April 9, 2009
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

For my Video Art class at Emily Carr, I decided to move forward with the “Personal Journeys” project and so I went ahead and recorded the story of the day my mom died from ovarian cancer in 1994 and the Journey that I and my family went through that day and made a video about it. I published it on YouTube last night and wanted to share it with all of you:
– FlashAddict

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

John DeVeaux is a second year Film, Video and Integrated Media student at the Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Classifying himself as a Digital Artist with future aspirations to work in either the film or video game industry, his work focuses on combining a wide range of media including crowd sourcing, data capture, film/video, installation, storytelling and web based material.

My Personal Journey tells the story of the day John’s mother died from ovarian cancer in 1994 and features the artist providing a solitary monologue over a black screen with white text providing an ongoing narrative, as he describes the mental images that haunt him to this day.

Inspiration for this video comes from Derek Jarman’s film, Blue, which showcases the director looking back on his life as he was losing his sight and dying from AIDS. The film is 79 minutes in length and features a single shot of saturated blue covering the entire frame of the screen.

My Personal Journey is also part of an ongoing digital art project dealing with personal storylines about significant or memorable Journeys in peoples respective lives and can be viewed at:

http://personaljourneys.wordpress.com


My Personal Journey…

January 28, 2009

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Given the significance that today’s date holds for me personally, I would like to share with you the Journey that has most affected my life in so many ways…
– FlashAddict

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

On January 28th, 1994, I was suddenly woken up at around 4:30 am by my father. Without my glasses on, my mind still groggy and with the hallway light silhouetting him from behind, my father said the following words to me, “Mom is dying…”

I was 18 years old at the time, in first year at college, yet all that I could mutter in response was, “Noooooooo…” When I think back to that moment, I felt as weak as a child and completely helpless to do anything. We had known since mid-October when my mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer that this might be the eventual outcome, but until that moment arrives, you live in a bubble, unwilling to accept the truth.

My father and I were the only ones in the house at the time, seeing as though my sister had moved out a few months before and my brother was on Vancouver Island, having flown a courier run during the night from Vancouver to Victoria. I quickly got dressed and my father called both my sister and our good family friend Jan Rutledge (who had recently lost her own father a few months before) and told them to come up to the house as quickly as possible.

In the half hour or so that my father and I waited for them to arrive, the BC Cancer Clinic had called again to say that my mother had passed away. I asked Jan what to do at that point and she told me that I would have to decide whether to see my mother’s body or not. She told me that when her father died, she chose not to view the body, yet something inside me pushed me to go as this might be the last chance that I would have to spend time with my mother (in an ethereal sense mind you).

My sister finally arrived and my father had gotten a hold of my brother in Victoria as well – he would be flying over to Vancouver as soon as possible and asked my father to pick him up at the airport, while my sister and I drove to the Cancer Clinic together. As we drove into Vancouver, the morning scenery was simply breathtaking – the sun was starting to rise over the mountains in the east with not a single cloud in the sky. It’s weird how you notice details like that in the face of such tragedy, yet that sunrise was the most vibrant and beautiful sunrise I had ever seen in my life.

When my sister and I arrived at the clinic, we walked up together and met the nurses at the station outside my mother’s room. They tried their best to comfort us, but I simply didn’t know how to feel or react at that point, I was just in a kind of sick limbo. They led us to her room and my sister decided to go in first while I waited outside. I stood there feeling like a fool, not knowing what to do or what to say and then after about 15 minutes or so, my sister came out – eyes bloodshot and teary. I gave her a hug and tried to console her as best I could. One of the nurses led her to a “family room” that they have set aside for families to grieve in situations like the one my own was going through and then it was just me left standing there – do I go in or not?

I took a deep breath and slowly opened the door and walked around the corner of the room. There lying motionless, face locked and eyes glazed over was my mom. As soon as I saw her, my body went numb, my legs buckled and I collapsed to the floor. I wailed and cried like an infant for God knows how long – I simply don’t know because during that moment, I went insane. I lost complete control of my emotions and concept of time or reality.

After what I think was about 20 minutes or so, I slowly regained my composure and crawled up the wall so that I could stand up. I then walked over to the bed and I reached out to touch her, but something inside me said, “No, that isn’t your mom anymore,” so I retracted my hand and gazed at her one last time. I could see that her eyes were starting to turn white and that her jaw was locked open and so I decided that I had seen enough. It was this final and brutal dose of reality that finally made me realize and accept the fact that my mother was dead that allowed me leave the room.

As I closed the door, I saw that my father and brother had just arrived and they were talking to my mother’s doctor who had also just arrived. As they walked into my mother’s room, the nurses saw that I was very much emotionally drained and on the verge of collapsing again and went and brought a chair for me to sit on outside in the hallway. The doctor came up to me and tried to offer words of comfort to me but I couldn’t say a word. I just sat there motionless, looking him right in the eyes, all the while my mind was screaming, “YOU LET MY MOTHER DIE!!!!!!!!” After a minute or two, he realized that I was not in the mood to be comforted and went inside to talk to my father and brother. Then after awhile, I regained some of my composure and left so that I could go to the family room and try to comfort my sister.

It was during this time that I called two close friends of both myself and my mother, Leslie Abramson and Caroline Porter (I am also friends with her son Andrew). Leslie is the co-owner of a flower shop in Tsawwassen where I used to work at and was also a long time political ally and friend of my mother’s. Tragically, she had also lost her own son just a few months beforehand and knew the pain that I was feeling. She told me to call the local funeral home and make arrangements for them to come and collect my mother’s body. Caroline was equally as shocked as Leslie to hear that my mother had died and also helped me during that most desperate of times.

After about another 20 to 30 minutes my father and brother emerged from the hospital room where my mother was lying and we came together as a family to try and comfort one another. We decided to drive back to the family home in Tsawwassen to grieve together and to try and come to terms with what had happened. Whereas I drove my sister’s jeep to the clinic in Vancouver, I was still in such a state of shock that I asked my sister to drive us home.

Throughout the entire drive back home though, I kept thinking just how vibrant the sun, the trees, the mountains and everything around me looked and I have never before nor since seen such a beautiful sky.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=1076+walalee+drive,+south+delta,+bc&daddr=600+10th+Avenue+West,+Vancouver,+BC+V5Z+4E6,+Canada+(BC+Cancer+Agency)&hl=en&geocode=%3BFbqu7wId5l-p-CGhpEzc3GvnyA&mra=ls&sll=49.140843,-123.091507&sspn=0.413716,1.057434&ie=UTF8&z=11


The view from my condo on Burnaby mountain

September 10, 2008
The view from my condo on Burnaby mountain

Woke up and the sun was shining and the clouds were rolling around down along Burrard Inlet from Burnaby to the North Shore.