Positive psychologists define resilience as the ability to cope with adversity, overcome obstacles, and to remain psychologically healthy (relatively speaking) in the face of all that that life throws at you.
Sometimes I think one’s ability to cope with grief depends on their determination to get out of bed every morning, to stand ankle deep in the wreckage of a life smashed in a million little pieces, and say “I don’t know how, but I can put this back together.” And every day you continue to get up and labor, trying to glue teeny tiny fractured pieces of your past life back together until one day you realize you can’t. You can’t put it back together the way it was before.
So you spend a few hours, days, or months feeling heartbroken, bitter, angry, and sad. You rail against reality, feeling cheated out of what might have, could have, or should have been. But in all your despair, you still don’t give up. You keep hoping for it all to make sense until one day it dawns on you that even though you can’t put it back together the way it was before, you can take what’s left of your life with your loved one, you can take your memories and lessons learned and continued connection, and you can build something different.
So, again, you start building, and despite regular disappointments, discouragements, and moments of hopelessness, you keep trying.
When you have a bad day one day, you still get out of bed the next
When their photograph makes you cry, you keep looking until it doesn’t.
When your friend lets you down, you give them another chance.
When you break down in tears in public, you learn to stand still and let it pass.
When a support group or therapist isn’t helpful, you find a new one.
When your life seems meaningless and confusing, you hope that tomorrow, or the next day, will feel different.
You feel weak every single day because you are one small person rebuilding an entire world, but what you don’t stop to realize is that your daily acts of resilience in grief are brief demonstrations of immense strength. You stumble and get stuck, you feel lost and alone, but so long as you keep trying and keep pushing, you grow stronger every day.
Keep trying, because tomorrow is a new day. It may not feel like it, in fact tomorrow may feel like a worse day, but eventually you’ll reach a tomorrow where you look back and say, “I’m okay”.
We know we’ve slacked in keeping PhotoGrief updated and so we’re acknowledging our shortcomings and committing to posting more regularly. We have a lot of wonderful submissions we’re excited to share with you and we also want to tell you more about the amazing work we’ve seen in our current Exploring Grief Through Photography eCourse when the time is right. Please don’t give up on us; keep following along with us here and on What’s Your Grief, we won’t let you down. The best way to follow along with PhotoGrief specifically is by subscribing and if you have work you’d like to see featured on PhotoGrief, you can submit here.