In 2018 my mother passed away. She was a complex woman full of life with so much more to be lived. She influenced my life and was an inspiration to my work. My three siblings and I each experienced her passing differently. Grief touched us all, and while it was not the same the relationships, we had with our mom were unique. Because of that, we all had a varying perspective of her passing and experienced grief differently.
Almost a year after her passing I reflected on the way we were affected and touched by the loss of mother. I couldn't help but imagine grief as an entity, like a goddess that followed us throughout our lives and whose presence would touch us, and sometimes even break us. I don't believe that loss is something that we get past, it holds on and is always present. What I've learned is that grief shifts over time. As an artist, the image of grief as an entity was persistent in my mind. I could see it as when it touched my siblings and began to recognize the way it touched me. I could see it in my dreams and to help process my feelings, I needed to take these images from my mind and make them real. I needed to create a physical image of what I was being felt.
This is a very personal project for me. The photos were created almost a year after her passing and I wasn't able to revisit them for almost another twelve months. While grief is still with me, and each of these expressions are true, I imagine that I'll gain a new experience and this project will continue.
Grief is sharp
There were times that grief was like a bomb exploding within us. It would feel as if the shrapnel would simply tear us apart, wrecking us from the inside, and rendering the world dark and gloomy. This kind of grief made it hard to see past the absence we would feel in our lives. Everything was dark, gloomy, and it was like this feeling would never end. Grief was always there, inflicting pain and sorrow.
Grief comes in a flutter
For others, the sadness was there but suddenly grief would appear in a seemingly insignificant moment. The slightest reminder or shared memory would bring grief and that moment was always unexpected. Whenever this happened, I couldn't help but imagine that grief was always there but waiting for the right moment to release the deeper feelings of the loss felt.
Grief can be peaceful
While it's hard to accept, sometimes the passing of someone means they are no longer burdened by the pain and trauma they carried with them. It was like grief allowed a sense a peace they could never be had without this loss. The pain was still present, and yet grief opened a space where we could see the other side and the peace that it provided to the one, we loved.