“What is excellent, /As God lives, is permanent; /Hearts are dust, hearts' loves remain; Heart's love will meet thee again.”
from Threnody by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Like the poem Threnody that Emerson wrote after the death of his young son, the series Elegy is both a lamentation on the death of a loved one and an acknowledgement of the beauty and importance of that life. Since the death of my father in 1997 I have struggled to find a way to communicate the deep grief I feel at his passing and also the gratitude I feel for having had such an extraordinary man in my life. It was not until the birth of my sons did I come to find at least one way to visually honor and weep for my dad. In an otherwise unremarkable moment with my boys it dawned on me that my playful interaction with them mirrored a time I shared with my father. I felt myself looking inward and outward with new eyes. In body my father is gone, but through me and now my children all the good that he was is very much alive. The skulls, bones, and skeletons in the images recognize his death, just as the celebratory and symbolic white flowers represent the new lives he continues to influence and nurture.