Lisa Elin and Aaron Bradbury have been talking since November 2016, six months after Lisa’s husband Erik Craighead passed away at 40. Bradbury and Elin were introduced by Jill Basmajian from Kaleidoscope, none knowing what exploring her stunning, tragic memories and loss would bring.
Vestige is Lisa’s real memories of Erik, relayed with the passionate love only a cosmic soul mate can: their first meeting after 9/11 in NYC, intimate moments, live’s deeply lived. Erik’s life affected a global community, and his death set into motion unexpected connections, enlightenment, and energy. It has taken Lisa to the depths of hell and back. Through sheer force of will to live, she creates hope for anyone affected by loss or transition.
Born in Manhattan, Lisa grew up in Westchester with a single mother after her father died at 40 from a heart attack. After thirteen years living and working in New York City, in 2010 she moved her life to Los Angeles to share it with Erik. A creative director & writer in advertising, magazines, and branding for 20+ years between coasts, Lisa hasn’t been home to New York in 6 years. Her return for Tribeca will bring together her local and global community she hasn’t seen since Erik passed.
Lisa’s experience making Vestige is incredibly meaningful to her journey of moving through grief, and sharing her message of finding profound beauty and transformation in our darkest moments.
“Our memory is a more perfect world than the universe: it gives back life to those who no longer exist.” Guy de Maupassant
During the past year of regular interviews with Lisa, I have witnessed her transformation through grief. Our first interviews took place only a few months after Erik passed away. She often spoke of the ‘black abyss’, where she was trapped in cyclic memories of Erik’s death. Memories that were triggered by anything that was even slightly connected to Erik; Christmas, birthdays, skiing, the sofa, the salad bar. In the most recent interviews, a year on, she talks about some of the positive changes in her life brought about from the grieving process. She takes opportunities to experience new things, she’s trying to live in the moment, trying to define new meaning in her life.
For Lisa, the Vestige interviews have been a big part of the grieving process. On some occasions we spoke over 3 hours, giving time to cry, to laugh, and occasionally drink wine. Being able to talk openly about all aspects of her grief has helped her navigate her memories and rebuild them from a different perspective. In her words, “It will have lasting resonance”.
Death is a hard subject to talk about. We shield ourselves from it and avoid the discussion. But when this happens, the shields become barriers, trapping our emotions and making it hard to escape the grief it causes. Lisa’s story in Vestige will create conversation. Death and grief touches everyone at some point and it’s important to understand the effect it can have. The project will also offer some light to those trapped in the black abyss, that grief can be seen as not just a state of being but a transition that can have a positive transformational effect.