Week 33 // Point of Return
I wanted to talk a bit in this post about the idea of claiming yourself again on the journey of grief. It seems, as I am discovering, that there comes a time when you begin to truly be done with the heaviness of grief at its worst. After years of feeling and crying and aching and longing… years of shutting yourself out from the world and from life, years of clawing your way through the mud and fighting for your very life… I think there comes a time when a shift begins to happen. And you begin to return to yourself and to life.
As I was talking to my grief coach this week, I shared something that I’ve struggled with the past three or four months in relation to this project. I explained to him that for several months now – without entirely realizing it – I was moving into a new landscape in my life but was holding back from showing it in the images. Some part of me felt uneasy to show that shift. For me, creating images out of a place of pain is far easier than from a place of strength.
I suppose it has something to do with why so many of us struggle to show our boldest and most bright selves. We are all fighting a fear of shining too bright and of what people will think of us if we do. Beginning to capture the parts of this journey I could never plan – like returning to life – has been a deep struggle for me.
There have been some extremely long months of being in serious battle over each image and the entire project. It wasn’t an internal battle as well – with not wanting to embrace this part of the journey yet. Not wanting to boldly admit that I am feeling healed enough to move toward life again. But as each of the images unfold in the past few weeks – I’m discovering such a deep alignment with exactly where my soul is right now… and I’m seeing how incredibly healing and beautiful it is to fully own wherever I am.
This week’s image ties back to several other shots in the series in a very prominent way. Visually it ties very closely to Week 15: Surrender. That image was representative of letting ourselves sit within our pain and perhaps give that pain to some higher force.This week speaks of surrender too, but in a little different way. Not surrender into the pain, but instead, surrender into the life that is left.
The other image that it ties to in a very major way is Week 19: Between Two Worlds. That image spoke of feeling torn between two worlds – the life I have now and the life I had with him, as well as this earthly life and the beyond. It was about being caught in the middle of the tension of all of those worlds.
This week, there is something very different going on with those boundaries within me. There is a feeling of lightness stirring in me that hasn’t been there before. A feeling that I am moving more fully into life again, stepping above the darkness and returning to myself.
I cannot express how impossible it all seemed two and a half years ago that I would be coming to a point like this. And more importantly, for it to feel okay. I feel assured that he will be as much with me in the skies of a new life ahead as he was in the landscape of our life together. Simply put, it is feeling strangely okay to live life again. To fill my world with everything there is left in life and not worry that it will mean he is less a part of it all. I’ve feared that for so long… but gently, slowly, over time, I’ve come to see it isn’t the case at all. He goes wherever I go. He will always be my wings, bringing me back to myself.
“Still, Life” is a year-long self portrait series exploring the journey of grief. You can read more about the project in this post. To see the full image gallery visit 2014 PROJECT. 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.
So profound. I saw this image and immediately thought of a hawk and an image I had in a shamanic journey. Your wings are down in mourning but they are also filled with promise in that expectant moment that awaits when your wings will lift and you will rise into flight. I have this metaphor in my book…can’t wait for you to read it. What I love reading about in your journey is the movement forward. It is not a betrayal of the love or loss, it is a confirmation that Drew will always be your wings. My Tim is mine…even though the flight may still be rocky at times, it is MY flight. Much Love to you Sarah…Soar!
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Reblogged this on Fancy Nancy says…. and commented:
I know just what she means. Losing my husband of 26 years-my love for 30-there are glimmers now of a different world for me. Not without him for he is always in my heart and by my side. Just in a new way as he once said, “I will be your spirit in the sky.” And so he is. Always and forever. Love this post.
Giving myself permission to live, after the ones I loved had passed on, was a difficult step, yet a turning point in my healing. For a long time, I lived in the shadows of their deaths, feeling I was somehow betraying them by being alive. But as you so eloquently expressed, in words and images, life goes on; you go on; and those we love are part of the new journey too. Thank you, once again, for sharing.
I think I gave myself permission to live after my husband died…the story is so complicated, like all of ours. I had lost my father adn brother and I knew I had to live on…the trouble is, I feel horrible for living. THis article was everything I needed today…You are a blessing. Thank you