100 Sunsets -Managing Grief Through Photography

The first of 100 Sunsets was taken on March 29, 2013 at WindanSea, La Jolla, California

The first of 100 Sunsets was taken on March 29, 2013 at WindanSea, La Jolla, California

Turning sad news into creative action can offer a person a way to grieve but it can also give longterm perspective and peace. A couple of months ago, I was faced with the sad news over the sudden death of someone who had been close. The fact that he was relatively young and that I had not been in touch with him for many years made my grief a solitary journey. I turned to professional help, to the solace of our joint friends and to those who are close to me now. But after a few weeks, my tears dried, the discussions ended and I had moved toward acceptance. But there was something missing. Something that I needed to do to honor his presence. Something that I needed to say but not in words.

During the grieving period, I made a point to walk to the beach and watch the sunset on a daily basis. I would sit high on a rock overlooking the ocean and to the horizon beyond. It was nature’s dance — the spray of salty air, the crashing waves onto shore, and seagulls and pelicans flying overhead all playing a part in the natural order of each day. I was only a tiny piece of nature’s landscape and as sure as time, the waves would roll in and the sun would set. The calming effect was amazing. My tension and sadness was released. I was mesmorized and wanted to capture this in his honor for all time. So I turned to my love of photography and declared that I would photograph 100 Sunsets. No restrictions only images, where ever I was when the sun set.

As sunsets are a universal human experience, I knew that marking time would ease the news of his passing. As a nature lover, he would have appreciated the beauty being captured through my lens. And, after 100 Sunsets, his memory will have been turned into a creative art.

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