Every Wednesday

Every Wednesday, I will post something about grief. Sometimes it will be a reflection on an aspect of grief’s landscape. Now and then I will share from my own journey of grief, because in the sharing of our stories we find strength and build a community of people that support one another. To follow, please leave your email address.

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Photographs Are Not Neutral

In the first weeks after Evelyn’s death, I did not want to look at any photographs of her.  

Images of her were already running nonstop through my head, and I did not want any reminders, in the rare moments that I could break free, that I was grieving. All our photos were of happy times when Ev was smiling. 
I guess we don’t take photos when we’re sad, angry, or depressed. This would have been helpful today because then I would be able to see that we were happy again after those stressful times. I ended up taking all the photographs off the walls.
After a month, I put one photo back up because I wanted to celebrate Evelyn’s life, not dwell on her death. I wanted to be reminded that I had once been happy. I wanted to see her smile again, just one more time. Over the next few weeks, a few other photos of her went up.

After four months, I was feeling back in control and expanded the photos on the wall to include all the friends and family members who had died, creating a personal memorial Wall of Remembrance.  
That lasted a week because my Wall of the Dead held too much loss of life. When I realized I was avoiding that side of the house, the photos came down.

In their place I put up a photograph of an early morning river scene from Yosemite that I took and had enlarged. The sun was just rising over the mountains and sent a beam of sunlight into the dark woods in the valley, illuminating a patch of trees in warm green and yellow colors. 

This reminded me that one day light would reach my darkness.

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