Death has a stigma and the burden of grief can hold us captive if we let it. May this be a process through which a loved one can be remembered and through which memories can be re-lived. Even though the pain of the loss may remain, may this go some way in relieving the hurt and the stigma of death and act as a public declaration that death has lost its sting.
I ask each participant to find a photograph of themselves with their lost loved one.
We then return to the location of the original photograph to replicate the image.
It is a chance to think back and remember, to tell the story of that day and of the person that they have lost. Imagery allows for expression beyond what we can speak of. I hope it is an experience that contributes to the restorative process in overcoming the painful impact of loss.
My name is Simon Bray. I'm a freelance documentary photographer based in Manchester. I lost my father to prostate cancer in December 2009. When my dad died, it wounded me in the deepest part of my being. The loss shaped the following few years of my life and will continue to do so, but I don’t have to let it define who I am. Through this time, it was really helpful to be able to talk about my Dad. I wanted to share with others about the person he was, the emotions I was feeling as I processed the grief, and talk about the influence he had - and continues to have - on my life. Those conversations were often hard and few and far between, mainly because people just didn't quite know how to respond.
This project provides a platform, allowing others to acknowledge their loss, to celebrate the person they love and to show that the loss that they’ve experienced does not have control over who they are.
If you would like to respond in any way, to find out more about the project, to share your story or to participate in the project, please use the form below. Please also feel free to share the project with family and friends, via email or social media. The participants have shared their experiences in the hope that they may offer support and solace to others, and are therefore happy for their stories to be shared publicly.
"It was a good intentional way of reflecting, which is really healthy. It’s important to take time to think about him, but when do you do that?" - James
“It was nice to remember those times, it's almost like honouring him in a way" - Liz
"I've revisited lots of places that we'd been to and you think, is it going to be hard or is good to recreate the memories, but if you do feel strong enough to go back to a place that you've been before and remembering good and happy times, it's a positive thing." - Anne
Cancer Research UK have very kindly agreed to offer support to anyone visiting the project who has a cancer related experience.
- Speak to a Cancer Research Nurse (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm) - 0808 800 4040
- Share your story and read about the the experiences of others on the Cancer Research Chat Forum
- Visit the Cancer Research Website to find out more information
Dying Matters is a charity led by The National Council of Palliative Care, which aims to help people talk more openly about dying, death and bereavement, and to make plans for the end of life. You can visit the Dying Matters website to search for local organisations that offer support.
Cruse Bereavement Care offer somewhere to turn when someone dies. You can call their helpline on 0808 808 1677, email them at email@example.com or visit the Cruse Bereavement Care website for more information.