Tag Archives: loss

Coping

Everyone has his or her own way of coping with loss or drastic change. For me it means grabbing a camera, putting a leash on the dog, and going for a walk on a country road just to stretch and breathe slowly, letting the stress out with each deep breath.

Last vestiges of fall foliage

Last vestiges of fall foliage

Sometimes if you take the time to peek into the ditches you’ll find remnants of the amazing fall foliage colours the Maritimes are famous for – and it will make you smile in spite of yourself.

Not letting go

Not letting go

And at the edge of the road a loan leaf clings to the naked branch of a bush, its comrades blown away by the last strong wind.

After two weeks of travelling in to the hospital to sit with my mother, brothers and sisters while her life ebbed away, and another week of frantic activity after the not-unexpected 6:a.m. call, the hubbub has slowed and the exhaustion has set in. When you are sad it is hard to get motivated to bundle up against the cold and go outside, but Mother Nature offers solace, encouragement and the rejuvenation needed to keep coping and moving on.

 

Supermoon (Beaver moon) Rising

Supermoon (Beaver moon) Rising

Last night I had intended to go out and set up my gear to capture the rising of the Supermoon over the local hills. One of the side effects of grief and attempting to cope is the inability to remember things properly and motivate yourself in a timely way. Instead of preparing, I sat down and ate dinner with my husband, only realizing after the fact that I’d missed that moment of the moon appearing over the crest of the hill. The best I could manage was a quick snap of it rising rapidly through the naked tree branches across the road.

Supermoon setting

Supermoon setting

My alternate plan, since I’m an early riser anyway, was to get out this morning and capture the giant orb setting over the Town of Sussex to the west of us. Mother Nature played a cruel joke on my plan and hid most of the moon behind cloud cover, showing just enough to taunt me!

Look closely and you'll see the lights of Sussex at the bottom of the photo.

Look closely and you’ll see the lights of Sussex at the bottom of the photo.

Everyone has different coping strategies. For me it will be more walks with Harley and perhaps a camera over my shoulder too. It’s been a long several months and no matter how prepared for someone’s death you think you are, you aren’t. A death brings out the best in some people, and the worst in others. Hopefully those who cope by striking out against others will find their way back to those who support each other in coping with the loss of the linchpin that held it all together.

Posted in appreciation, Autumn, BLOG, caring, death, emotions, Fall Foliage, family, New Brunswick, photography, rural living lifestyle, seasons, writing Also tagged , |

Grief follows all loss – not just a death

Pristine beach near Ilheus, Brazil

Pristine beach near Ilheus, Brazil

I recently read an article titled “15 Things I Wish I’d Known About Grief” by Teryn O’Brien (posted on the Identity Renewed website blog on November 21, 2013). Like many others, I shared it on my Facebook page making note that some friends and relatives who had experienced loss (read ‘death of a loved one’) recently might find it comforting. And indeed I’m sure some did. I thought of the two dear friends I’ve lost in the last two years to cancer and how my grief over their deaths followed a similar path. In fact, item #15 “Grief can be beautiful and deep and profound. Don’t be afraid of it. Walk alongside it. You may be surprised at what grief can teach you.” really struck a chord with me. So did #11. It recommends asking “How? How can I live life more fully to honour my loved one? How can I love better, how can I embrace others, how can I change and grow because of this?”

In my grief over the loss of my friends I made the decision to attend a photography workshop in Brazil and step way outside my comfort zone – both personally and professionally. My thinking was – “if not now, when?” and it was a decision I am glad I took.

But that said, I think we should recognize and understand that there are other types of grief too – grief resulting from separation from loved ones by time and distance, for example. That happens in many forms. It may happen to families when the husband and father has to be away for weeks or months at a time due to work. It also happens when different generations live at opposite ends of the country or sides of the world.

I grieve – for relatives and friends who have passed away.

And, I grieve for:

  • lost opportunities and memories not made,
  • time not spent with my son and his family,
  • playtime not experienced with my grandchildren,
  • holidays not shared with family,
  • the look of wonder on children’s faces on Christmas morning – not seen,
  • the chance to hear what happened during those first few days at school,
  • and so much more.

Time and distance can often be bigger barriers than one might think. Even with all of today’s technology, just connecting, however, briefly, can be a challenge.

Like a hot air balloon lifting off in the rising sun, hope springs eternal.

SatAM _L2H6566

Posted in BLOG, caring, death, emotions, family, life changes Also tagged , , |

Safe flight, little hero

We met just two years ago but this wonderful little boy and his family quickly carved out a place in my heart. Nathan was born with “Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome” which essentially means he was functioning with half a heart. When he was mere days old he had the first of several open heart surgeries.

As a photographer with the Littlest Heroes organization I met these wonderful people when I went to their home to capture family portraits for them. When then eighteen-month-old Nathan first saw me coming through the door with my big, black camera bag, he hid shyly behind his mother. He thought I was yet another visiting nurse come to subject him to more needles, treatments and examinations.

So, together we sat on the floor and examined the contents of my bag – cameras, lenses, a flash unit and so on. Once that mystery had been solved Nathan was more than happy to play with me and let me shoot endless numbers of photos of him and his family.

And in minutes I had fallen in love with this beautiful, happy, charming and loving child.

Nathan’s whole family, mother, father, grandparents adored this little hero who so bravely withstood all of the medical treatments and medications he needed just to get through each day. Every day that he woke up and smiled was a blessing indeed.

And smile he did, ensnaring the hearts of all who met him. At three he was still a little charmer, adored by his parents, family, friends and all who met him.

And then his parents gave him another gift of love; a little sister, Jenna.

Once again I had the privilege of capturing more cherished memories for this family, now a group of four.

This handsome little hero had more challenges in his short life than could ever be considered fair, and yet he kept laughing, giggling and loving as only a special little boy could do.

Last week he returned to the IWK for yet another surgery. With a heavy heart and tears on my cheeks I read a short entry on Facebook this morning from Nathan’s mother Sue. With what must have been a herculean effort for her, she wrote that she, “is absolutely 100% completely heartbroken. Fly high little man. ♥”

Nathan lost the battle this time and gained his angel wings.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Susan, Todd, Jenna and their family and friends. There are no words to heal the hole left in everyone’s hearts and lives by the loss of a true little hero.

Farewell Nathan. You will be missed.

Posted in caring, children, death, family, friend, health, lament, leaving, life changes, Littlest Heroes, losing, love, parenthood Also tagged , , |