One of the most difficult parts of grieving my fiancé’s death has been the isolation… the way it constricts around you, separates you from life and leaves you feeling disconnected from the world. I think it can be the hardest part of the journey through loss… this isolation.
Grief is never linear. It comes in waves, and usually tied to profound or meaningful events in our lives. I’ve been going through one of the more painful waves lately. This project and my photography in general has gained some momentum and a bit more exposure lately. I’ve got an image that will be published in a month on the cover of a book. I’ve had more sales of my prints. I’ve had a few requests for commissions. I’ve signed a contract with a curator to sell some of my work. I’ve gotten another offer for a solo show and had a few more pieces in some juried shows in the area. What is happening right now in my life is exactly and precisely the thing I have dreamt and hoped for since I was a little girl dreaming her big dreams. And it’s incredibly satisfying and exciting. But that doesn’t mean that it’s easy or fun necessarily, because that little girl didn’t dream of doing all this for these reasons.
With all of the growth has come more. More emails to reply to, more people to call and connect with, more appointments to remember, more work to manage, just more of everything. Everything is growing and changing so quickly and suddenly I am finding myself grasping at thin air – feeling confused that this person is no longer here to help me understand what I am going through.
I’m searching for the one who was here on this journey with me – the one who truly saw me and understood all of my complexity as a woman and as a human. We mirrored each other so well – always spending a great deal of time discussing the new, scary, exhausting, exciting things happening in our lives and in our life together. As we talked and shared about such things, we learned even more – about ourselves and each other and life. It became a beautiful and powerful catalyst to our personal growth and the growth of our relationship.
I know I can do this without him (or without him physically here, I do still believe he is with me in a different way), but trying to pursue something so bold and so vulnerable without this amazing dynamic that we created together is quickly becoming one of the most difficult and isolating parts of this journey. No matter how much everyone else in your life cares, nothing can replace the one who was in it with you. The one you grew with, side by side, who saw all of your depths and understood you as well as – and sometimes better – than you understood yourself.
I suppose that was a long-winded way to explain what’s behind this image. What is behind my feelings of isolation lately. To put it simply, it’s about having an ocean of words inside you, but knowing that the person you need to speak them to isn’t here. And so thusly, you find that you don’t have any words at all… and you sink back into your grief and yourself, into the quiet and the isolation, for a time. Until the wave passes and you regain enough strength to emerge 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.