Updated: Sep 3
When my fiancé Rob died, I had no concept of how to deal with such a loss. I didn’t know anyone who had lost a partner at such a young age, or what resources were available to me. I spent a few days searching the internet for bereavement support groups, therapists and grief resources. I didn’t seem to fit into any of the categories available for bereavement groups: I was much younger than the typical widow, and I didn’t have any children.
Luckily the support I needed found me; another young woman in Toronto who had recently lost her husband saw my partner’s obituary, posted by a mutual friend on Facebook, and reached out to me. Through her I found a small network of young widows in the city, and they became the people with whom I could share my grief, anger, and the occasional absurdity caused by my loss.
It’s been two and a half years since Rob died, and I think of him every day. In the early days, the anguish of missing him, and of everything that he was missing, could quickly overwhelm me. It’s easier now to hold a happy memory of him in my mind, or to laugh at something he would have found funny. I love talking about Rob, and hearing things about him that I didn’t know from friends and family, even if it does cause me a twinge of sadness. Don’t be afraid to speak to people about their lost loved ones, it helps keep their memory bright.
ABOUT EMILY D for CHANGE
EmilyD4Change celebrates people's stories and provides a window for people to share their personal experiences. It's about the unsung heroes who are left behind, the caregivers, the support people.
As a photographer Emily has had the honour of photographing key life stages - the joy of birth and the anguish of a persons final hours. Her understanding of the depths of love and the pain of loss expanded after those experiences. Instead of focusing only on what was lost, Emily learned that in many cases the people left behind want to focus on what was and what was gained from loving.
EmilyD4Change invites people to share their stories of love and love lost. Through stories and images, EmilyD4Change brings seemingly ordinary people forward to showcase how extraordinary they are, bravely facing loss and demonstrating the strength and remarkability of the human spirit. Each story is unedited and shared based on what the survivor wants you, the reader, to know.
by Emily Doukogiannis
Emily Doukogiannis is a Toronto-based portrait photographer, expert storyteller and compulsive photo book maker. Her commitment to telling people's stories is something Emily does in her spare time via Emily D 4 Change and countless media outlets.
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