Light at the End of the Tunnel: Photographing Hope

Photogrief / Photogrief : Eleanor Haley

by LaNelia Ramette

Although it has been seven years since my son died, I still remember how I felt the first year after his death. I didn't think I would ever see light at the end of the tunnel of grief. When I read an article about using photography as an expression of grief, this photograph I recently took came to mind. I think the photograph offers hope that we eventually will see light as we move forward in our grief journey.
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We invite you to share your experiences, questions, and resource suggestions with the WYG community in the discussion section below.

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21 Comments on "Light at the End of the Tunnel: Photographing Hope"

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  1. amc  June 29, 2020 at 2:37 am Reply Ann Marshall and I was wondering how to go about organizing my stuff and everything in between

  2. Peggy Csiacsek  April 19, 2018 at 1:32 pm Reply

    I have been dealing with this for over a decade. Seriously one of the hardest things to do and the emotions at first I could not throw even a hairbrush away of my mothers for the first 5 years after she passed. Then my father lived with me after she passed and he passed over 5 years ago, and still its hard. Due to some issues with family members that happened at both funerals, I put my foot in concrete as my emotions and said nope not reading the will, I will give out any $$ that is left and split evenly but as for items they are staying in storage until later on in life.

    Now its 10 years from my mother passing and close to 5 for my father and I have slowly went thru items, clothing mainly and a few furnishings but still have it all.

    Most of the items that were in the will were given out before my parents passed to each child by them, and then I have several items that I was willed that I do not want but its still hard to say I am going to give them away or sell.

    How do you handle the family drama and how do you let go of this so you can move on in life with no hurt feelings or regrets.

    Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

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  4. Brooke  March 7, 2018 at 3:55 pm Reply

    My father the collector passed away suddenly on Feb. 18 2018. My niece and nephews and I did ok going through his house on our first day. Then I offered a family friend to come in and pick a couple items as well. THAT WAS HARD! She truely is lovely but it felt like she was cleaning out the house. I know my own fault for asking her but I didnt realize that I would feel so possessive of my dads things. Anyone had this experience before?

  5. Lovey  January 30, 2018 at 2:07 pm Reply

    My beloved husband passed away suddenly July 18, 2016. Here it is, over a year & a half later, and I cannot get myself to go thru his things yet, to decide what to do with them. I gave away a few items to some family members (we did not have any children) a couple of weeks after he passed, but the bulk of his things are still stashed away in a spare room downstairs. I was going to turn that room into a spare bedroom in case I had guests, but no one visits me anyway. At least the room could be used as a hobby or plant room, but all grand designs crumble when I even think of going in there & getting rid of things. His medicine sorter half empty, the rolling cart he kept by his couch for his convenience, stashed with all his guy things, even his capped “iced” tea bottle that he was drinking from that terrible day, now turned green. All his clothes, still hanging on the garment rack. I know he’s not coming back, and this winter – warm clothing could have been donated, but when I think about going thru the stuff, I freeze in my tracks, and get a sick feeling in my stomach. His other belongings, including his computer, CDs, and big screen TV in his man room, I can’t really quite convince myself that all these things are mine now, and I couldn’t care less. He used to love to order things from Amazon Prime. A few things were delivered to the house after he passed, that he had ordered – I was able to send those things back. The real heartbreaking last purchase he made was a pressure cooker, cause I knew he was thinking ahead for us, he loved to cook, and was thinking ahead to all those wonderful meals he would cook for us in his little kitchenette next to his man cave. Managed to send that back, too, no need for it now. That’s another thing – all his pots & pans he accumulated – I can still see him cooking at his stove. So many things left unfinished – we had no idea when I rushed him to emergency that night, that he would never be coming home again. I guess I still cannot believe he is really gone, don’t know if my mind & my heart will ever really believe he’s gone. It all happened so suddenly, like the name of that old movie re-titled to “The Day My Earth Stood Still”. I know enough now about losing a spouse you were madly in love with, that you just will never be the same person again, nor should you expect to be. A part of your identity is missing, your other half just vanished into God knows where. Your soul mate, confident, lover, companion, and so many other descriptions, is gone – poof – and the finality of it is suffocating. Never could understand it – these inanimate objects are still here – WHY isn’t he??? A dear friend, a widow herself, said that it was 8 years before she could go thru her late husband’s desk drawers in his home office. So I guess I am not that strange.. In a way I have picked myself up from the floor – so to speak, but I am living every day with the black hole of his absence, that every now & then, pulls me into the abyss of him not being with me anymore. My only hope is that one day – I will be somehow reunited with him.

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  7. Robert Monet  December 24, 2017 at 5:47 pm Reply

    Thank you for this , my grandpa passed at 102 and mom doesn’t know were to start and neither do I . Your article does help so thanks..

  8. Ricky B  December 10, 2017 at 3:19 pm Reply

    as another mentioned. sometimes you have NO choice but to go through and decide what to do with a loved ones belongings in a very short time! in my case it was 3 days. my mom was 4 days shy of 82 and passed away after a very (5 day) brief and sudden illness. once hospitalized she passed in 16 hours. due to a untreated/unknown UTI. that turned Sepsis and Septic Shock very quickly! then she was gone. she lived in her one bedroom apartment 17 and 1/2 years. the day of her passing I was at the funeral home signing papers for her pre-arranged cremation. (would have been another horror to deal with had she not) then to her apartment to see what had to be done. next two days we went through (with the help of a neighbor with a truck) everything began bagging up this n that while I had to decide what to keep or donate. or toss. I live alone in a small one bedroom myself. I functioned in remote control mode. I wanted to scream and cry but could not. all sentiments had to be held aside for another day. I was the only child close to my mom. the only one she saw and I loved my mother dearly. one family member told me in a round about way I was COLD.what SHE does not know it was killing me inside. looking back there are things I wish I had kept. I kept her treasured purse, and a few knick knacks. her cook ware. some blankets and sheets and her blouse that has her grandma smell on it. all the pictures of a lifetime. her journal. written in 1984! she gave me that in 2014. she passed May 24 2016. I still can not read it as it depresses me. mom suffered a stroke in 1997 and lost her ability to ever speak again. very sad. it has been a year and a half and I miss her so very much. and I believe having to do it all so quickly has extended my grief. even picking up her ashes alone at the funeral home still haunts me. I can’t even look at her picture. some days my heart is filled with pain and longing for the woman who was my mom for all my years.. she was the last of my family. I have relatives. but we are not close. and I do not wish to see them… it all swept in like a tornado. leaving behind a torrent of emotions. pain and even guilt.

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