The experience of losing my father to incurable cancer changed my life. I began to question our societal image of loss and grief, how that hinders our own grieving process, and how it affects the way we can express it. I was awakened to our culture’s denial of death and our abandonment of the bereaved to a kind of solitary confinement. Grief has physical, cognitive, behavioral, social, cultural and spiritual dimensions that are so often overlooked, leaving the griever to manage it alone.
In the midst of my own loss, I harnessed photography and self-portraiture as tools to explore the universality of grief. Although grief is typically associated with death, the emotion is also experienced with other types of loss that affect us all regardless of age, race or gender. Through my exploration, I learned that grief can be beautiful and transformative, that it should be honored and used as a tool in itself to mend.