Loss of life is absolute and irreversible. The acceptance of this in the heart of a mourner can be an entirely different story. It may be exceptionally difficult for a mourner to surrender to the reality that the person they love and their story now permanently belong to the past. When one finally does surrender, “letting go” can feel awful, a guilty feeling of abandonment can surface within the bereaved, all the while grappling with the sense of being abandoned themselves. Both acceptance and surrender permit the mourner to release the profound loss that is often carried on their backs as a desperate, loving attempt to remain connected to those they have lost.
Shira spent many years carrying this heaviness and still struggles to remain untethered by the sheer weight. It is natural. It is a way to feel close, and fight the continued loss and absence of the departed. To unbridle is psychologically complex and is the theme of this next series, “Resurfacing.” Here, Shira documents the emancipatory transition, shifting the symbolic black birds of mourning to white signalling the release of weight. Each image depicts the emotional shift from darkness to light and highlights the newfound purity and breath discovered. The cracks of light that emerge after great mourning are depicted in “Resurfacing” through muted hues of hesitant colour. Landing on sturdy rocks provides reassurance for yet another take-off and the courage to attempt yet another landing elsewhere. Just as a bird gazes down towards that safe landing, so too can a mourner look towards nature’s foundation for healing.
There is power in the surrender. It is here where one gradually replaces the fight against the irreversible with trying to make room for new life experiences. When a mourner can begin to reclaim life, they are ironically continuing the legacy of those they loved. There is power in those trepidatious movements forward. This discovery of resilience during and following trauma is one of the most profoundly beautiful human experiences. To resurface after grief in small or large ways is to witness life in one of its most poetic states. The renewed desire to re-engage is key to continued existence. Shira’s defining message in “Resurfacing” is that grief need not define you, it can simply reshape how you see the world and engage in it.