In the past week, I have taken additional photographs of other people holding onto objects that speak of their losses. And in mining my own box of treasures, I found a few items that belonged to members of my family who have long since departed. Some of the new photographs are associated with the literal death of beloved person; in one case, the photograph involves the figurative death of an abusive spouse/marriage. Loss does not always equate with physical death. Anything that profoundly changes us, causes grief and heartache, that divides our lives into "before" and "after" is a loss. Loss is something we never "get over," but rather something we learn to live with.
In this photograph, my husband is holding some incredibly gorgeous pearls that belonged to my mother-in-law, Audrey, whom I never had the pleasure of meeting.
This photograph shows me holding a rosary that ,was given to me by my great-grandmother Blanche, when I was seven years old. She died not long after that.
The photograph above shows the hands of a little girl (about age 7), whose mother died when she was just shy of 6 months of age.
This photograph represents the losses associated with an abusive marriage.
This photograph depicts a father, my former husband, holding onto the guitar that had belonged to our son, who died at age 18.
In this photograph, my husband is holding onto the prayer booklet from his father, Sam's, funeral.
The woman in this photograph is holding onto a tape of her sister's voice, something most precious to her. The memory of a loved one's voice fades much too quickly.
This photograph shows a man holding onto pliers that belonged to his dear grandfather, whom he was especially close to. Those old pilers are still being used to this day.
This gold star pin was given to my great-grandmother, Esther, by the US government after her son, my great uncle, Carroll, was killed in World War II on D-Day. My grandmother passed it on to me last year. It is a treasured bit of family history.
Each object portrayed in each photograph is steeped in memory, imbued with emotion. Healthy grieving involves connecting with those memories and allowing oneself to feel the emotions associated with them.
These photographs also demonstrate one of the ways we live with loss: Holding on while letting go.
Until next time...