I took this photo at the 2014 wedding of my dear friends (and adoptive aunts), Suzanne and Marcia. It was an occasion that gave me a sense of belonging in a place that was, at the time, new and foreign to me. This quote encapsulated my dizzying hunger for experience and beauty that would eclipse anything I’d been able to find before. I wanted to live outside of myself, to eschew the comforts that had made me feel secure, to shrug off the limitations imposed by my inexperience, and to find something new, other, different, special.
There isn’t a word that could possibly describe the trauma and pain of the past year– and even if there was, I wouldn’t be able to find it in the swirling abyss that is my brain. Not unlike a stroke, grief makes you forget, and I often find myself reaching for words that seem to just escape my grasp.
I find myself now more than ever valuing the familiar comforts that make me feel safe. The places filled with memories that I’ll never be able to relive, the mundane things newly imbued with significance, like my dad’s old clothes. I’ve found myself turning over another C.S. Lewis quote in my head: “No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” As soon as I read those words, in the days after my father died, I felt a pang of recognition. There is no respite from a loss like this. After the initial impact, its effects continue to ripple outward, touching everything, indefinitely. Nothing good will ever be as good as it could have been. Nothing right will ever be as right as it should be. And no matter where I stand in this world, or how far I travel, I will never find a home like the one that no longer exists.
One half-formed thought has continued to pulsate through my head, especially during the numbingly bad times. We are more than this. Our selves are so much bigger than what our faulty, fragile bodies can contain.
And then I stumbled upon this photo, from a time in my life when I could barely contain my feeling of hope.