Loss as a fact of life, was imprinted upon my subconscious in the tender third year of my life, with the death of my biological father. Though at the time the magnitude was lost on me, it ultimately shaped my perception of life and death, and the fragility of it all.
Lightening struck again when I was 15, when a tragic accident stole away one of the kindest souls I’d ever encountered. Austin, my black bird, my sweet first love. His ghost haunted me, and all those who love him, for years and years. His death rocked my world, it broke something in me that took a very long time to heal.
The one photograph I have that is mine and mine alone, is a touchstone to a moment in time, to a joyful summer day. It reminds me of other days we spent together, with friends, but of those I have only memories, no pictures, not of him.
On the very day of his passing, from beyond the veil Austin sent me my baby boy, Boomer.
Of Boomer, I have countless photos to look back on and remind me of all the joy he brought my family and I.
I also look back at some of those photos and know we held on to him too long, but never could he ever have doubted that he was loved beyond words.
With his death in 2016, my heart was broken anew.
My grief was such that I couldn’t even speak about it.
My first ever piece of Gestalt work inside the TBAH program, was around the trauma of Boomer’s death and losing him. I remember being wracked with sobs coming from some place so buried within me I couldn’t breathe. The coaching horse present was reluctant to even come into the circle of deep grief laid out before her.
After I processed, I was suddenly able to talk about him again without being rendered speechless by the pain of his loss. This was a gift. Having known this sweet boy, to share his memory, was a gift.
In-between, there have been losses of relatives, departures of friends,
the life altering move home by my best friend. I thankfully have many photos held dear to my heart of the adventures she and I had over the years
Most recently, the lightening struck the hearts of two of my dearest friends, their families, and myself.
The loss of our beloved Sapphire. The Soul Pony of my most tender hearted of friends. As I’ve witnessed and felt her heart wrenching grief, the poignancy, the importance of photos, has been at the forefront of my mind.
We took a lot of photos of Sapphire, of he and his girl together, of all of us enjoying his very large, very special presence.
I wish we had taken more. I wish we had a photo for every day, had captured every possible moment up until his brave soul stepped beyond the veil.
Because I was touched by loss at such an early age, the delicate nature of life has never ever been lost on me.
The fact that in a moment, in the blink of an eye, someone can be gone from our arms forever … that knowledge has spurred within me a deep love for photographs, for the touchstone to transport us back to those moments and memories, because one day we look up, and it’s all that’s left behind.
Photos are not there to live in at the expense of our present moments, they’re not meant to replace those living, breathing souls who love us, who are with us in the here and now, but rather to serve as a reminder of who we were, to remember the love we shared, and to guide us back to ourselves when we are lost.
Since Sapphire’s passing, I’ve made it a priority with my clients and with my own beloveds, to take at least one picture a session, to capture the moments that will someday be memories.
“Memory is a way of holding on to the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.”The Wonder Years