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November 11th, 2012
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It has been two winters since I last saw you.
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I’m angry. I have been angry.
I’m angry at CANCER
Every night I could hear you groan in your sleep,
as it metastasize throughout your spine.
Every decibel of you pain was a dagger in our hearts, sharp and heavy.
I saw your frustration. In your eyes.
Of not being able to express what you wanted to.
Is such a difficult conundrum as an educator.
35 years as teacher.
43 years as a mother.
65 years an inspiration.
Why did it have to be cancer?
The excruciating pain. The mess of being human and sick.
The reversal of our roles. The sleepless nights.
The dripping chemicals attached to your chest. The double mastectomy.
But I also remember our poached eggs for breakfast.
And Popeye’s Chicken during our afternoon conversations.
I remember the ocean. And the silence.
But you said that you were not afraid of death, and that death was more afraid of you.
Mom: And I was never afraid of life anymore, that is when my mother died.
Nich: How old were you when your mom died, Nay?
Mom: I was in the third year college.
I was so disappointed. Not because that she died.
But because I was not able to repay her, of all those things, of loving me, and the things that she has given me.
As I write this, I see the snow that you once found as poetry with your early morning coffee,
How I wish you were still here to see through my lenses.
The places that I have been
The beautiful people I have met whose smiles you would consider as ethereal.
The people who loved me and the people who made a difference in who I am.
Thank you, Mom, for letting me listen to Bob Marley.
For letting me break my piggy bank so that I can buy a guitar to impress a girl.
Thank you for supporting me to thrive as an artist.
To fall in love as a teacher.
And be inspired as a human being.
Thank you for teaching me hope even on your last few days on earth,
and for letting me share it with others.
When she died I said, “So that’s life.”
No matter how much you love the person, she’s going to die.
So then, I was very very brave. I was never afraid of anybody else.
Whoever will block my way, I have to be outspoken.
But I know very well, I am in the right path.
You know I love you, Nay. Always will.
Until our next cup of coffee, Nicholai
Director: Nich L. Perez
Nich “Nick” Perez is a Filipino - American filmmaker, educator, producer, creative director and collaborator, researcher, artist, and professional storyteller based in Austin, TX, and Los Angeles, CA.
He has a knack for telling stories that matter told through the lens of empathy and community. So he enjoys creating pixels and film grain through relationships and treating them as sacred, and produces media that transcend through the lens as a whole, rendering beauty, inspiration, and authenticity in an evolving media landscape.
And before doing his academic fellowship in the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, he was an Assistant Professor in Communications and Visual Arts at Holy Cross College at Notre Dame, IN, where he also served as the director of the digital arts studio. With 15 years of experience in multimedia storytelling, his work intersects with social justice, creativity, identity, volunteerism, philosophy, mental wellness, and service- learning through media arts and practice.
Nich continues to collaborate with multiple non-profit organizations, and his extensive mission-driven media work supports their causes in print to emerging media. Many of these projects were in numerous international film festivals and exhibitions, including his poetic documentary, LETTERS: transformations that was the March 2021 winner of the Art With Impact Short Film Competition.
He hopes to continue to share this passion of transforming hearts and minds through powerful stories and in meaningful projects, one pixel at a time.