“People who have recently lost someone have a certain look, recognizable maybe only to those who have seen that look on their own faces. I have noticed it on my face and I notice it now on others. The look is one of extreme vulnerability, nakedness, openness.” Didion, Joan. The Year of Magical Thinking. New York: Vintage International, 2007.
In 2019, a year in which my mental health unravelled slowly and deliberately, my solace came in the form of a puppy. I was in the longest depressive episode of my life. With only my dog as witness, I’d walk her through the forest crying silently.
And then, aged 1 year and 8 months she left this earth by way of injection, taken before cancer that had spread to her lungs could hurt her. In the stifling heat of summer, the grief would not relent and it felt like the world was ending. My girl was gone at the same time close to one billion animals perished in the fires. The loss felt so heavy the muscle of my heart felt like it would split in two.
Humans are part of the world in a way we do not truly appreciate, the life cycle one step removed from the modern world. This work came out of my immediate response to her death and the grief felt for her and all creatures lost as the year started. I find solace in animals, each that greets me with a touch, a nuzzle, a comfort. I would walk every day, looking for solitude in the landscape, trying to heal. These images are my coping mechanisms laid bare, a desperate attempt to hold onto moments before they pass and to attempt to comprehend a life cycle interrupted.