We love using photography to express and cope with grief. Lots of you also love using photography to express and cope with grief. We thought it would be pretty cool to have an online space where all of us who love using photography to express and cope with grief could come together to share photos, look at others’ photos, and talk grief. With that idea in mind, photogrief.com was born.
If you don’t follow along over there, you may have missed our Photogrief February Feelings Photo Challenge. We like to keep it simple over there, so the challenge was pretty straightforward:
Finish the following sentence with a photo and a brief reflection. You may interpret this theme any way you want, focusing on any emotion you want.
Valentine’s Day, you make me feel _________________.
Pretty easy, right? We are sharing a handful of the submissions below (but not all, so go here to check out more submissions). If you want, click on any image below to see the reflection that goes with it.
Photogrief February Feelings
Valentine’s Day, you make me feel lonely when ordinarily I don’t feel lonely even though I am alone, a deliberate choice, perhaps (for me) the ultimate Valentine gift. Some sort of crazy grace prepares me for days like these when the media pummels us with flowers, candy, and jewelry. It’s often only on days like these I may despair, then gather the courage to see what is behind my feelings of loneliness and despair, loss. I take a moment to reflect, sometimes struggling to find gratitude for this life, these lessons, and hope for a future I have no choice but to accept.
Valentine’s day, you make me feel relieved that my darling Ken and I did not celebrate Valentine’s day as we thought it was largely commercialized nonsense and in any case, our wedding anniversary fell within the same week. Ken died on 04/11/2016, and 20/02/2017 will be our 29th wedding anniversary; my first without him here physically. That feels tough enough without having two events in the same week. We got these tattoos the week we found out my love was terminal, and he’s still my lifeline. I love my darling man, and I extend support to bereaved lovers everywhere on Valentine’s and any other day.
All that is Sweet Lives in my Memories
If only I could still share
a pretty, red, Valentine’s pear
with my forever and ever
darling pear lover…
How I hate the “hard,” empty chair.
I’ve never been big on Valentine’s Day….I’m still not…not in any romantic way at least. The winter always gets me down and it’s hard to muster up a lot of enthusiasm. But I do have a lot of love in my life, which I’m immensely grateful for, so I guess I’m glad for the reminder to stop and smell the roses.
Valentine’s Day, you make me feel like this box of old love letters that I want desperately to read but can’t bring myself to open. I know the box is full of love and memories of my family’s history, from a grandmother I loved so deeply and a grandfather I never knew. I want to open the letters and connect with the people they were before they gave birth to my father, a man who is also now just a memory. I know there is joy and comfort and love to be found in this box of letters. But I also know with that love will come tears and hurt and pain, the price to pay. Though I don’t usually run from tears and hurt, this moment in this year is different. Though you can’t see it, this box of letters is teetering on top of too many other boxes.
In this month there has already been the pain of bidding farewell to a childhood home, a pain that has filled boxes. There has been the pain of sorting photographs and scrapbooks of things that belonged to too many people I love and miss, cramming it all into boxes to bring home with me. There have been countless tears that have come with this house purging process, a process that has involved me turning a single home into a thousand boxes packed to the brim. As much as I want to open myself to the love in these letters today, the day before Valentine’s Day, I’m just not sure I have it in me. Though normally I say the sweet is worth the bitter, I can’t find that strength today.
So this box of letters will probably sit, untouched, through a Valentine’s Day that will probably pass, unacknowledged. I will continue to feel like this box of unopened letters, filled with love and memories and tears and pain, keeping it all inside, waiting for a better day to open up.
Valentine’s Day, you make me feel like a forgotten rowboat lost at sea. It is a long denim skirt. I had made it for fun; his jeans and mine, hand sewn together symbolizing our lives stitched together as we lived each day together. He died suddenly February 9th. His funeral, only day available to us, was Valentine’s Day. I wore the skirt to his funeral.
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