“Our memory is a more perfect world than the universe:
it gives back life to those who no longer exist.”
Guy de Maupassant
Lisa used to live in Utah. Originally a New York gal, she never saw herself living amidst the snowy mountains of Utah, but now her soul is entwined with those mountains. Her husband Erik was a pro skier and at home in the mountains. He died suddenly in 2016 and Lisa has since been grieving the loss of him.
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.