If you’ve read my blog or visited my Facebook page, you know photography helped with my grieving process. In 2008 when my husband Vic died, I rarely took photos. Vic was the family photographer.
The evening after Vic’s memorial service, I took a walk with my yellow Lab Daisy, drank in the blooming Lupines, and watched the sunset. Did I grab Vic’s camera then? I don’t remember, but it was clear that spotting beauty brought hope. Despite my inner gloom, beauty was everywhere. My camera helped me focus there.
I walked the trails, wept, and snapped photos. Since I crashed into grief many times a day, I went outside many times a day. Nature helped me hold a teetering balance.
My teacher Marion Woodman spoke about cycling or spiraling as the feminine path through time. From light to dark and back again. From winter to summer. From birth to death and new life. From summer flowers to animal tracks in snow. I watched for those cycles within my life. Down into grief. Up toward beauty. I didn’t try to escape sorrow, but didn’t want to get stuck there.
The summer of Vic’s death, I watched the days grow longer and then shorter. I watched flowers bud, blossom, and cast seeds. I watched butterflies and bees, salamanders and birds. They survived. So could I.
We were concerned about butterfly and bee populations even then. The situation has grown worse, so each sighting feels more precious.
Each is a blessing greeted with a prayer.
These photos are from this year’s summer garden. What lifts your spirits at the hardest times? Where do you turn when all else fails?
For a post about Vic’s love affair with photography, see Snapshots: Photographs to Heal the Heart. For another piece about the importance of staying close to the cycles of life, see Planting Joy in a Season of Sorrow.