For the past two years I have joined Carly Marie’s ‘Capture Your Grief’.
The first year, so soon after Xavier’s death, offered a much-needed creative outlet for my grief. I documented my thoughts and feelings through images and words. Sharing those with other bereaved parents was powerful and validating. Sharing those sacred images with those close gave me some release. When all I wanted was to scream “My baby died! Stop world and recognise my baby died!” the project offered a place to be heard. I screamed through those words and images. I wanted them to be confronting, honest and brutal. I wanted some small measure of my pain to be evident.
Last year was different. The scars had started to heal over and my grief was no longer raw. I was more contemplative, more reflective. I was able to document lighter moments and hope. I wanted the images to reflect a softer side of my grief and the beauty of my son.
This year, I have been unsure about whether to take part. My grief has moved into an entirely different place. I see myself as a bereaved mother, but no longer a grieving one. Against all odds, my life has moved into a place I am happy with. And I have to ask myself, do I have any grief to capture? What will this project mean to me now?
The past two years, I joined in as part of my healing journey. This year, I will join in to mother my son. I don’t pretend that the place in my heart that belongs to him has closed over. It has not. But living with that pain has become second nature. The ugly shoes* of child-loss no longer pinch. My need is no longer to scream his name, but to speak it. And so the images I create this year will bear testament to a love that continues and a gentler part of this journey.
You can take part in Capture Your Grief 2014 by following the instructions in Carly’s post.
* An Ugly Pair of Shoes
I am wearing a pair of shoes.
They are ugly shoes.
I hate my shoes.
Each day I wear them, and each day I wish I had another pair.
Some days my shoes hurt so bad that I do not think I can take another step.
Yet, I continue to wear them.
I get funny looks wearing these shoes.
They are looks of sympathy.
I can tell in others eyes that they are glad they are my shoes and not theirs.
They never talk about my shoes.
To learn how awful my shoes are might make them uncomfortable.
To truly understand these shoes you must walk in them.
But, once you put them on, you can never take them off.
I now realize that I am not the only one who wears these shoes.
There are many pairs in the world.
Some women are like me and ache daily as they try and walk in them.
Some have learned how to walk in them so they don’t hurt quite as much.
Some have worn the shoes so long that days will go by
before they think of how much they hurt.
No woman deserves to wear these shoes.
Yet, because of the shoes I am a stronger woman.
These shoes have given me the strength to face anything.
They have made me who I am.
I will forever walk in the shoes of a woman who has lost a child.