Losing someone very dear changes you entirely. It must. And for a time, your identity may feel like is has been lost altogether – hidden behind a darkness that is too big for you to see past. This is a large part of the journey we go one when someone we love has died. It is the search to understand who we are now that they aren’t here, who we will become as we go forward, and how they will be a part of that.
Since he died, it seems I’ve done nothing but look for myself. In every word I write, every photo I take, every relationship I begin or end, every brave new thing I try… each of these informs me of who I am now. It is not who I was when he was alive – I cannot be that girl anymore. It is instead, who he is helping me to become. This is who I am always observing.
It’s a tireless trek to say the least. A messy, lost, wandering, humble journey. A balancing act – with one hand down to the darkness and one raised to the light. One to my pain and one to my joy. Both of these are within me – often fighting to exist at the same time. I try my best to create balance between them in order to heal. I am learning it’s equally important to allow the light to warm me, just as much as to allow for the pain to mask over me from time to time. And that sometimes, it is okay to allow both of those to wash over me all at once.
If you’re in the midst of a deep loss of your own, you may fear that you will never quite find yourself again. That you will never be able to see past the pain and see yourself again. I can tell you – from where I am today – that with time and gentle hands to balance yourself, you will find yourself again.
About the Series: Through 40 weekly photos and accompanying essays, 'Still, Life' captures a deeply emotional and psychological journey of what it means to grieve, to heal, and to live on.