As the first week of August is already gone, I figured I should an update from July... but then I realized I haven't really shared any updates from June, May, April...
Well, it's not been an easy spring into summer...
After my March 31 post, I was going to take some time to regroup, but in May, my nephew -- the 21-year-old son of my brother and sister-in-law, little brother to my niece -- was tragically killed and it rocked our family to the core.
And at almost three months later, time isn't necessarily healing, it's just providing time to try to live with a type of grief I've never known before.
But I know that photography is something that I need to do. It's a therapeutic tool that forces me to focus, literally, on whatever's in front of my lens. Maybe there are moments of grief-avoidance, but what is the right way to feel what you're feeling? What does 'managing grief' look like to each person who's in the throes of it? I've been reading a lot about it and talking to anyone who'll listen and the one common theme that appears is there's nothing common about it. It's not linear, there's every other emotion involved in it.
So when I was ready to pick up my camera again, I stayed close to home and just went out to my garden. On the day a memorial tree would be planted for my nephew, I took my camera along. Not knowing if I would bring it out, I decided to and I'm thankful I did. It helped me connect with that event and with most days being a blur, it's part of the literal photographic memory being created.
When June arrived it was my dad's 93rd birthday. No one felt like celebrating, but we came together for cake and companionship. I also photographed some new-into-care sled dog retirees, as well as some cats I was looking after across the street. Again, only choosing subjects that I felt I could handle.
Slowly, I ventured further out and encountered more people. Some adoptable bunnies, a bulldog meet up. Animals being safer than human subjects.
Then in mid-July we headed out on a road trip to Saskatchewan to visit my husband's sister, brother and extended family to hold a memorial for their father who passed away last September. While out there I made time for a couple jobs with people I knew I was comfortable with, but mostly I spent time in my own world amongst the farm, the horses and the landscape, camera in hand, documenting the trip.
Once back from our trip there was a hockey tournament in memory of my nephew - lots of people and once again being forced to confront what happened. But there was comfort in that group, of being around people who spent so much time with Dayton.
Anxiety and grief are still hovering at the surface of my being and I'm still pretty much sticking with non-human subjects, but photography is doing what it does for me. Between adoption advocacy sessions and end-of-life pet sessions, I'm finding more solid footing.
If you've read this far, thank you. There's always that feeling of oversharing, but this is me... where I'm at. I love doing what I do here and look forward to trying out some new ideas this fall.
My nephew, Dayton, was a total ham and he was never shy when I turned my camera on him, so for that I am grateful. The lessons I've learned from his easy-going nature is helping me learn to "roll with it" a bit more. So, thanks Dayter.