Through the Lens
As an amateur photographer, I relish in capturing the delight of the changing seasons in Minnesota. Just this past month I took a long walk through my wooded acres, beyond the bucolic nature of the animals’ pasture. This was my third photography hike this fall. When I hike I often stop and pause, particularly in the fall. I am discovering the features of my new camera. It is mirrorless and there is much to learn. When the camera is set at auto, it displays a matrix of focus points which, when activated, will alter the primary focus.
An initial image focuses clearly, at the white of a birch tree, where the berries in the forefront are also prominent. A second image focuses intently on the red berries with a softened image of the white birch. They are not identical, but you can imagine see the differences.
Our experience of grief is similar to that of a lens or focus. We all grieve in our own way, even in the case of siblings or couples. Our focus, our lens is particular to each of us as individuals. That focus can change in a moment. Some moments we may choose to look for the bright image of the white birch, other moments you are focused on the scarlet berries. This is why we may experience tension when we are grieving the death of the same person. The focus or lens is filtered by our emotions, sleep, mood, environment, understanding, comprehension and more.
It is difficult to see through another person’s lens. We can become frustrated when the day is going well, and your partner feels exactly the opposite. Patience becomes paramount. While no one can experience your individual grief; it will always be particular and individual to yourself. We can search for common themes, experiences, emotions; that is helpful. This is true for the support group as well as the family or couple .
I have often heard that the season of autumn is a metaphor for death. Nietzsche stated, “Notice that autumn is more the season of the soul than of nature.” That was his perspective of autumn and loss. Certainly in our acute grief it is difficult to consider looking through another’s lens. Perhaps the best we can do is accompany each other by honoring their perspective without judgment or question. In that process we are enlightened by each other’s perspective and together we honor one another’s story of their grief.