All notes written by Jennifer Moon | Notes on Looking

Epitaph for Family: Text for Johanna Breiding’s essay film, Andrea, at Human Resources

Imagine there is a death. But there is no end. In 2007, my mother died: an unusual death, an untimely death, a freak accident. She choked on a piece of meat. The loss of my mother shifted me, pushed me off center, askew to a world faithfully oriented around the family; a purity of love embodied in the identity of a mother and mine was gone, forever. Death signifies an end. But the death of a loved one lives forever in a perpetual state of undead: we are desperate to keep them alive in memories, in hope, in sadness, in joy, in longing, in despair, in loneliness. In 1997, there was another death: the death of an assumed identity, a prescribed identity, a dominant identity that began to subjugate me. I felt the determination of identity forcing its way down my throat and I refused to swallow. It lodged itself in my throat and began to suffocate me, constrict my voice, asphyxiate my life, so I killed it and informed my family without any sorrow. This death also shifted me, pushed me off center, askew to a world faithfully oriented around the family; a purity of love determined and embodied in the identity of a heteronormative family disrupted, forever. The ghostly residue of the dead, it lingers. The death of a mother, the death of an identity, the death of a family; they all linger, waiting. Do they linger in wait for us to visit them again in moments of longing, to resurrect in the inebriation of memory, to suspend in a perpetual state of undead; a unifying space...