Marathon Grief, Boston, MA 2013
17 x 20 in.
“It is my lot, and perhaps my privilege, to have experienced and lived through a wide variety of personal, family, and national tragedies. My brother died of suicide at nineteen, my partner had a stroke at fifty-nine, and I was seriously injured in a dog attack. I have also been touched by larger tragedies: I ran the Boston Marathon the year of the bombing, my mother and sister and her family lived in Newtown at the time of the elementary school shooting, and I have close friends who have succumbed to covid-19 or cancer during the pandemic. And, like all of us, I have co-experienced other national and international disasters.
Life and death matters–whether physical, psychic, or circumstantial–remind us that irrevocable ill fortune can befall any of us. If we are brave enough to keep our eyes and minds and hearts open, tragedies can startle us with their randomness, humble us with their enormity, and encourage us to respond to suffering with empathy, love, and a commitment to preserve meaning and memory.
In preparing images to honor Loss for this exhibit, I was struck by how often we imbue simple physical objects—a dress worn to too many funerals, impromptu memorials along a fence, or the few last cherished possessions of a friend or relative dying too soon—to carry the pain we cannot bear alone and the memories we dare not forget.”
© Nancer Ballard