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.

Comments

  1. Brave sharing of your personal grief experience. Grief can be tricky. It can be like tar. It sometimes wants to stay around and wont be rushed away. We need to put it in motion as best we can without forcing it. The creative expression of grief like “100 Sunsets” seems to be a perfect way to move and process this sticky emotion while respecting its time schedule. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you for your comments Barry. When I started taking photographs he was definately on my mind and it was a way to honor his memory. Now, it is more of a way for me to honor each day that I have. Perhaps through his loss I am more conscious of the value of life. I appreciate your wisdom and will continue the work. It will be interesting to see how I feel months down the line.

  2. What you wrote is absolutely wonderful. I was unaware of the connection between your sunset photography and the loss of your loved one. I think it is a beautiful way to honor him and your time spent together. Keep the sunsets coming and may their beauty continue to bring peace and comfort to your soul.

    • It was easier in the beginging to keep it to myself. And, I was unsure about how I felt towared comitting to a project of this length. Now I look forward to finding different placess to watch the sunset. Thank you, my friend.

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