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Week 6 // Desperation


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My father-in-law once described this whole experience of grief as feeling like falling into a pit over and over again. You exhaust yourself trying to climb out of it. You claw your way up muddy walls, sometimes reaching high enough to feel the sun on your face again for a moment. And then you lose your grip, and you feel yourself sliding back into the depths of your pain. Your fingers digging into the wet earth… hoping to find something to anchor to. But much of the time it is to no avail… and you fall and fall and fall. Until finally, you are once again at the bottom. Exhausted. Depleted. Empty-handed.

It is a special kind of desperation to be back in the bottom of your pain when you’ve lost someone incredibly dear to you. I was brought back there just a week ago, after attending my first bachelorette party since my fiancé died. Seeing everything I should have had and want so dearly to have… I lost my grip, and down I slid over mud and ash and pain. Stopping only when I reached the bottom of my pain, where there was nothing to do but surrender.

Almost 2 years after his death, I am not brought back there as often as I used to be. But I never forget the place where – for at least the first 6 months – I think I only managed to climb a few feet up the wall before falling (and I rarely had the strength to try and climb at all). When I am brought back there now, the reaction is still the same as the week he died. Every hair on my body and every last cell of me screams out in desperation. Even my hands themselves cry out – begging to be able to feel him again… pleading to know none of it is true. Aching to know the world I once knew, which looked nothing like this one. It wasn’t dirty. It wasn’t cold. It wasn’t dark. It wasn’t hard to look at or hard to feel. My world before was bright… something people liked to look at. Something I liked to look at. How complex living your life becomes when you find yourself in a world that no one wants to see, including you.

That is why I have so much appreciation for all of the people who have watched the most painful parts of my journey. Who have been unafraid to look at my world when it wasn’t beautiful to see. Hell some of them have even hurled themselves right down into the pit after me – entirely unafraid to feel the darkness with me. Those are the heroes in my story. They are the ones who make the loneliest place we will ever travel a little bit less alone. Today, if you are still here reading, that is most certainly you.

If you’re new to this project, you can read more about it in this post.
Please share
 with anyone who you feel can relate to the imagery, my hope is that it gives many others a visual for something they are going through in their own lives.

11 Comments Post a comment
  1. Oh, Brave Heart, thank you for sharing the reality of grief so eloquently. So many of us can identify and understand your words and that place of darkness into which you’ve shone a light.
    It’s all the “firsts” that tip us over the edge, isn’t it? And not all of those firsts happen in the first year. They catch us unaware, just when we think we’re getting our feet on solid ground and suddenly, we’re tumbling and falling. The difference is – you’ve been here before; and you now know that you will resurface again. Each time it does get a little easier.
    Thank you for your courage in voicing the desperation. Sending gentle hugs your way.

    Tuesday, March 11, 2014
    • Thank you so much for this wonderful comment Julie <3 It has meant so much to have others share in this project with their words and experiences and feelings. It makes it about far more than just pictures of me – but of all of us. Thank you for that <3

      Tuesday, March 11, 2014
  2. Debra #

    Sarah – your strength and bravery are admirable. I feel privileged to be a (small) part of your world. Much love….. x

    Tuesday, March 11, 2014
  3. You offer such a poignant image. When you’re in the pit, no one can get you out. You have to claw your way out like you describe. I’m grateful that you have others who are willing to be with you in the pit in the meantime. Sometimes it’s hard to appreciate them at the time, but there support and presence it’s wonderful.

    Tuesday, March 11, 2014
    • So well said. I love hearing other people’s thoughts and feelings about these images. It gives them so much more richness. Thank you!

      Tuesday, March 11, 2014
  4. venxnev #

    Reblogged this on The Twilight Zone and commented:
    An incredible amount of pain, described so meticulously to fill every pixel of the captured picture.

    Tuesday, March 11, 2014
  5. Sarah, you bring incredible blessings to all those who come across your your story, who have the opportunity to read your words. Your photos are incredibly moving. There’s no doubt you will have another project to do with all these profoundly touching images. xo

    Tuesday, April 1, 2014
  6. I’m having trouble putting to words how I feel, but it’s amazing how well you’ve described relapse into physical illness as well. As usual, I find my journey reflected in yours, and I know neither of us want that, but there it is.

    Thursday, April 3, 2014
    • Thank you so much Rachel, so glad we found each other.

      Friday, April 4, 2014

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