Commemorating Loss

Photo of Layla's handprintWe have all heard stories of the many ways people commemorate someone lost to them: setting up a foundation to raise money for research into the cancer that killed their wife, lobbying for laws to be changed, cycling the continent to raise awareness of the disease that claimed their child.
The death of someone close can bring many of us deeper into life . For the gift of that, we want to honour not only their life but what they have shown us through their death. Only when I was in grief myself did I fully understand this need to make meaning from loss. I needed to express the way grief had changed me.

We cannot control fate; we can only control how we respond to it. Opening myself to the gifts of Layla’s death was one way to make it bearable and to honour all that she had bestowed on me.
Making meaning does not have to involve some grand act. I made a documentary and wrote a book because that’s what I knew how to do. Making meaning can be a private affair, a small gesture, like planting a tree or gluing things into a scrapbook. One guy who emailed me about losing a child built a house as a memorial. ‘It’s a guy thing,’ he said. For others, it could be the tiniest gesture, like feeding a stray dog in honour of the one they’ve lost.

Photo of Layla

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