When the Waves Are Gone


Christian BABISTA

from Philippines

About the Book

It’s difficult to see the life that departed family members had beyond the stories and family photos that surround them. My own father had to leave my family to provide for us, just as his own father did as a seaman—their own unique experiences obscured by distance and time to those that love them. And yet, in some odd twist of fate, I discovered that my own grandfather had a penchant capturing life…his life…in ways that I never imagined.

Through his eyes, and now mine, this book’s intro reads:

“For the waves that continue to ebb and flow.
To remember the time that has passed,
Telling ourselves to forget
The beautiful and the bad of what has happened.
I realized how life is a voyage through the ocean. It is a continuous crashing of waves, and regardless of the journey, we all end up in the shores.

‘In this type of job, your other foot will always be left in the sea.’

My grandfather said these lines to me when I was a kid.
And since then I have always wondered what they meant.

As I grew older I slowly realized that when you set sail, there is always a risk of drowning and never coming back. You never know what’s going to happen. Like waves, you never know if you will be able to go back to your family or you will end up swallowed by the ocean.

I am using my grandfather’s photos to reconstruct his journey and to find closure to the questions he left unanswered when I was a kid.

At the same time, new, deeper questions began to form as I sifted through his photos.

What is it like to be someone whose other foot will always be left in the sea?”