Hope is an incredibly small thing when you are in a very broken place in your life. I don’t think it is something that looks bubbly and enormously bright and fills up the room – not when you are in total darkness. At the beginning of this journey through grief, for me, there was not even any room for hope. I was in total despair almost entirely for the first six months. But there were, in those early months, small glimpses. It did not come rumbling in with bold splendor, but instead appeared in small, subtle ways. Like the first time I was able to take my camera out and photograph the sunset and ENJOY it, about a month after he died. Or the first moments that real, honest, laughter happened. Or in the sharing of painful stories with another wounded soul and helping each other feel less alone. Or going art galleries and filling up my soul with inspiring and beautiful artwork that somehow made my incredibly broken soul sing for a few moments.
Hope isn’t always easy to see or find amidst the debris of a broken world. It can be easily overlooked when you are so tightly focused on the pain and on keeping things together. I have learned in my grieving that to find it, I must try to always keep a part of myself reserved – assigned to the job of looking only for hope wherever it can be found. The rest of me can wallow and cry and scream – all 98%… but that other 2% of me must always be looking for hope. No matter how small, no matter where. Find it.
Hope is the most powerful thing you can have in your hands when you are going through a deep loss. When you have fallen into the depths of grief and there feels like no way out will ever come… even the smallest proof of light can entirely reframe your world. Even if you cannot see the sun – even if you don’t want to open your eyes and try – to have some small piece of evidence that it indeed still exists somewhere creates a visual in your heart of a place you want to be. And that visual, if you hold it with you as often as possible, eventually, will get you to the sun.
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.