Life After Suicide | A Personal Post

I always say that when my brother died he went to heaven and I went to hell. His pain ended and mine began. He went into the light and I was swallowed whole by the darkness.

The memory is still so clear. The distant sound of a phone ringing in the middle of the night. Blearily getting out of bed to answer the phone call that would change my life forever. Listening to my mother’s voice tell me my only brother, who I loved more than life itself, had taken his own life. I remember walking on shaking legs back to bed and my husband asking me what happened. I remember calmly telling him, ‘Paul is dead.’ And I couldn’t understand why my husband was getting so emotional. I had immediately gone into deep shock. And in that state I would largely remain for almost two years.

It’s strange, I can’t remember much of last Christmas, but I have so many vivid memories from the weeks and months following my brother’s death. I remember the big rainbow that appeared near my parent's house the day after I flew home, I remember the overwhelming kindness of neighbours who looked after my family, I remember a friend hurrying to get me tissues when I started to cry, I remember the sensitive and insensitive things people said, I remember one evening not being able to see my dinner on the plate because I was crying so much, I remember the real hugs and I remember the friends and family who travelled long distances to support us.

It is quite a testament to the human spirit how one can still move through life even when in deep pain and shock. Each day I was engulfed by a new tsunami of grief. There was no escaping it and it was relentless. I would break down sobbing in public places, I would go to bed crying and I would awaken in the middle of the night crying. My heart was being broken wide open. Despite all that, life went on and at best, I was a spectator. I sat with friends and I watched them laugh, maybe even laughed myself. I listened to them talk about their lives and all the while I was wondering, ‘Will the pain ever stop, will I ever be truly happy again?’ I would look into peoples’ eyes all the time and try to read them. I know now that I was searching, searching for someone else who understood trauma, someone else who had been devastated by suicide. This summer, I finally found someone who knew, someone who had lost a loved one in similiar circumstances, and was trying to rebuild their life. Talking with them, looking in their eyes, was so incredibly cathartic. Someone finally understood. It is an entirely different conversation, talking with someone who knows utter devastation and someone who doesn’t.

Today, one week before my brother’s five year anniversary, I find myself reflecting on the journey. Five years may be a relatively long period of time in a ‘regular’ life, but in the life of someone overcoming devastation, it is but a drop in the ocean. I am no longer the person I was before October 15th, 2014. I have had a shift in consciousness that has changed me on nearly every level. I have realised on a deep level the importance of human connection, of being selective of the energy you have around you, of looking after your physical and mental wellbeing and of telling people you love them. Us humans are so much more powerful than we realise. We can change someone’s day with a smile, a hug or a kind gesture. If we see pain in someone, we can try to help. We can reach out to each other. We can look after each other as we all make our way ‘home’.

“Your grief will become your companion… The part of you that is compassionate, and strong, and deep.” - Helen Exley

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Enjoying slow time in the busy season

The busy season is here for us photographers. I know I have a busy October ahead. I’m not one to live life the fast lane for too long though. I need my down time, be it a walk in the forest, an extra long soak in the tub, a (large) glass of wine by the fire, baking or reading, I need to check out of the busy lane from time to time and make sure I recharge my batteries.

On top of my need to recharge, I also decided a few months ago to prioritize having fun. Who wants to get to the end of their life, look back and say, dang it, why didn’t I have more fun? Not me, for sure. I’ve come to believe that having fun should be a HUGE part of life. Squeeze in some fun wherever you can. You will get so much new energy from it, I promise. And being a woman of my word, this month I’ll be going to a party, having a date night with my hubby, catching up with friends, having visitors from Ireland , going to see some stand up comedy, and playing one of my favourite games every evening - hide and seek with my dog. He ALWAYS finds me within two minutes ;)

Peace and love :)

Autumn family session with fun people

If there’s one thing I love, it’s when I meet someone and I feel like we are the right energy match. That’s exactly what happened at this family photo session. I met this fun family of three a couple of weeks ago, just when autumn was beginning to creep into the air. We walked, we chatted, we laughed and best of all, we made some priceless family memories. Before every family session, I tell the parents that the energy they bring to the shoot is super important. The more positive they can be, the better everything will go. And right from the start, this family brought the Fun Factor :). I barely had to direct or guide them, they were just so full of the joys of, well, autumn ;). After shoots like these, I go home on a high, practically floating, soaring high above the skyline of Stockholm. Okay, now I’m getting carried away, but you get the picture, right ;)

Peace and love :)

What to get Grandma for Christmas

And no, I don’t mean a new grandchild….

I suggest you get her the gift that keeps on giving - portraits. Portraits of her grandchildren, portraits of you, or even portraits of her. I don’t want to send you into Panic Mode, but Christmas is fast approaching. December 15th is not when you want to have your family photo session, well, not if you plan on putting some photographs under the Christmas tree for loved ones. From now, the middle of September, until maybe the middle of October is when it is typically really beautiful outdoors - golden light and leaves in a multitude of colours make the perfect family session backdrop. Oh, and did I mention lots of laughter is guaranteed on a Jolly photo session, and let’s face it, we all need as many laughs as we can get as we head into winter ;)

So, for the love of all that is holy, please don’t leave Grandma disappointed this Christmas. Book your autumn family photo session and make sure Grandma has beautiful new portraits to adorn her mantlepiece. It’s the decent thing to do :).

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