Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Grief: The Photograph

(click to enlarge)

This photo, when I first saw it, practically stopped my heart. I almost wept. The world fell silent. I was in a place, in my head, that day, when I was exhausted from headaches, tired of the world, tired of everything. Every heavy thing I carried in my head and in my heart were suddenly summed in that one quiet photograph. I've never forgotten it and look at it from time to time. It says so much to me, at many different levels, when I stop and really look at it, look into it. When I stop and just be still.

There are all kinds of grief. This is the grief of human loss, the infinite heaviness of having lost a loved one. I am lucky, so far, that I haven't experienced the loss of someone precious, yet. But I almost lost my mother once, and I haven't been the same since. I can't seem to love her enough. There are no words to describe how much and how long I will love her. And for a few brief hours that day, I faced the terror of her loss. I am also the kind of person who worries about that sort of thing, but it's good. It makes me savour little things that people don't even know I notice. It makes me quietly and loudly celebrate them. But it is never enough, is it? Only forever would be enough.

And sometimes I look at this photo and just see a person who is spent. Sometimes I feel that way too. Chronic pain does that to you: steals the wind from under your wings until they are too heavy to bear.

But mostly it makes me appreciate all that I have, all that I am capable of feeling, the depths and the summits.

This is the work of Pamela Williams, a Toronto photographer. I met her at an art fair in Toronto and had a long conversation with her. She signed a book for me. Her work is troubling but peaceful. She inspired me. Finally I started a photography series of my own. I've been shooting graves, visiting graveyards. It sounds morbid, but it isn't. They are the most quiet places.

In the future I will post my photos on a new blog. But that may be a while, so here is my muse, for all the world to see.


  1. That is a beautiful photo! I would love to see some of the ones that you have taken.

  2. Anonymous11:44 pm

    What a beautiful, heartbreaking photo. And a great post.

  3. Beautiful, is my only comment! Thankyou.

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