A Eulogy for Days Bygone

I am tired.

You probably are, too.

We have lived in a state of near-constant alertness for over a year. When we let our guard down, the world as it is now swoops in to remind us that we are fragile, mortal, and fallible. When we get our hopes up, the world creeps in to remind us that we are only as strong as our weakest links, and until enough of us are adequately strong, you just put those hopes on hold, baby.

I have lost much over the past year. While I was already making the move to photograph fewer portrait sessions, COVID pretty much ended my portrait-shooting days. Opportunities that had presented themselves have flown away faster than I could grasp them. Twice, spikes in cases in my local area have resulted in the cancellation of a solo exhibition of a new series I completed last year.

There’s the loss that came with a large hurricane that struck us here in Louisiana. Thousands without power and water. Entire towns leveled. We lost some shingles and some tree limbs and were without power for a while. We were lucky. At least we have a home still.

And then there’s the human loss. People I grew up with, whose paths in life mirror my own, leaving behind families and dreams of their own. I think back on memories I have with these people, knowing that each time I remember, that memory gets skewed a bit; I hope I can keep the memories intact enough to preserve my friends in a worthy way.

I get sad for a while. I get angry – and so it goes in a cycle of grief and anger, until I can’t stand it anymore and I just shut down. I’m too tired to grieve.

Creating new work has been an extremely difficult idea to wrap my mind around. I have ideas. I have materials, even… I just don’t have the will to do it right now.

So, for now, I’m going to allow myself to feel the grief. Maybe get a little pissed off sometimes, too. I’m going to feel it, so that way, when joy arrives and sticks around a bit, I can feel that, too.

“Death by Consumption” – Model Olivia V – Created in 2020 by Jennifer Esneault

(Before you worry, yes, I am under the care of a mental health professional, and yes, my family keeps a watch for when I get into these low places.)

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