Sunday, October 04, 2009

October 4, 2009 Pictures Of Grief

I took Ezra to the Annenberg Space for Photography where they had the photographs of the winners of the Picture of the Year Award International.

Ezra was fascinated by the photo of the child soldier, gun pointed at camera, smile on his face and who happened to be the same age as him. "If he has a gun, why is he smiling?" he asked, exposing the holes in our gun education philosophy. I only read the captions of the photos he asked me to knowing that allowing him to lead will give me insight into who he is.

He skipped over the photos depicting grief. It was at those that I stopped. I looked at them and felt neither empathy nor sympathy for the characters in them. The wall between us was mighty and fierce and strong and whole.

It wasn't until I was driving home that I realized those photos are the only photos that depict grief; the horror of the man clutching the body of his bloodied and dead brother, the photo of the mother wailing over the discovered body of her son. We don't see the photos taken 37 days after or 183 days or 1 year and 2 months and 3 days after the loss. We don't have a complete picture of grief. We think it is all devastation and sadness that pushes down continuously on the grieving. Those photos only begin the story.

Our pictures of grief are incomplete.

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