This week’s self portrait comes from a feeling that I think we all have when we lose someone we dearly love. I can’t count the times since my fiancé died that I have imagined a place like this… a gateway that could somehow reach across the realms. A place where I could pass into his world, even if just for a moment. I’m sure everyone envisions this sort of threshold in different ways. For me, it looks like this. Some of the journaling I’ve done to describe this epxierence reveals more of my personal views…
“I often imagine what it would be like if I stumbled on a sacred doorway to the other side and cautiously walked through the threshold… what would it be like? It would be a still, sacred place with an air of mystery around it. A space deeply connected to nature, so much so that even the trees have bowed in unison with its purpose. I wonder what it would look like as I stepped through to the other side? Would it look just like woods here, only filled with those I love who have passed on? Would I see him standing there, through the trees, and would we sit down together on a fallen log and share all the adventures we have both had since we last saw each other?
Or would it look like something entirely different – would I have no arms or legs at all? Would we be but two ambient forces flowing in a vast, open plain? Would there be no words, or any need for words? In this version, our spirits infuse more and more closely until we eventually become as one – the very original of how we began. Both of these visions give me hope. They help me see how beautiful it will be to share of my life on earth when I return to the ones I love on the other side.”
How do you imagine a gateway like this to be? Is it somewhere specific, does it look or feel a certain way to you? What do you imagine it to be like on the other side if you stepped through that portal? How does make you feel to imagine sharing with those who have passed on about your life here on earth since you last saw each other? What sort of stories will you have to share?
Personally, I think its so valuable to form our own individual stories of these aspects of death. It helps me to keep my sights on what’s important… allows me focus on the kind of stories I want to create in my life – so that I have a grand tale to tell him about this life of mine when we meet again.
It serves as a reminder that our journey with those who have died is not over. We are merely on a long trip apart. Our job while still on earth is to live a life so rich and full that we arrive back home overflowing with grand stories of adventure and bravery and love… especially love. Stories that we will sit down and tell to our loved ones – or that they will infuse into their own being – and their souls will shine to see how boldly we have met life… to see that no matter how much pain we endured, we never let it stand in the way of our greatness.
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.