Gone upstairs

a personal journey through grief and change

A lover of the light


It’s the little things that count. Well, I’m sure the big things help as well!  We have recently had some majorly encouraging family occasions… Had our bedroom redesigned and decorated within the space of 2 weeks, which was really gratifying and unexpectedly easy… I didn’t really plan it, it just happened – one of those doors that you push a little and it flies open 🙂 Plus there is the major event of a holiday in Sicily next week that only came together because we took up a friend’s invitation to visit Calabria in August and met some new friends… One thing leads to another. Perhaps it takes me looking at my life to actually see the shape of these huge gifts.


BUT… on a daily basis, when there is stress about the painter and the mess and booking accommodation on an unknown island, or the ongoing concern of being parents and grieving parents at that – it IS the little things that count. Small pleasures give my heart a lift and bring satisfaction and purpose. It can be an encouraging text from a friend: one says ‘Let’s have a phone call’; another writes about walking in London and makes jokes that go back to schooldays. It’s good to feel loved.

But those happenings are random and I have no control over when they happen. I do have a choice about making time to do things that lift me. As one notebook I bought says, “Do more of what makes you happy”. Feeling happy is a real issue when you are depressed. The medication helps keep your mood on an even keel but there’s a dullness, like being wrapped in cotton wool. It’s not as bad as when I was taking prosac, but it’s still there and when I look closely I quickly find myself in tears. The truth is my heart is bruised and wounded and needs healing. Looking at it, talking about it, that is all part of the healing process and must be done, but it takes time and professional help and it hurts. There are still a lot of tears to come out. I just have to walk the journey – and accept I am sad.

Meanwhile, finding daily grace is the key. How can I approach each day – where is sustenance to be found? I sit, I try to pray – there are no words but that’s OK. I choose to believe I am loved and held even though I cannot feel it. Sometimes I find a couple of lines that help – a quotation, something on facebook, a verse of Scripture. Most of the time I attempt to smooth out a path through the day by planning what I will do, listing what needs doing today. That at least gives direction and purpose.

But joy, lightness, positive thinking? Creativity that lets in the light? Hey, here’s some writing… but that doesn’t happen very often. I’m still wanting to make time for some more painting – maybe today!? But recently, as I said on a previous post, its my photographs and the rediscovery of the (mostly) daily routine of posting on my photo-blog that’s bringing joy. Hurrah! I have recovered the impetus again – the drugs must be working! 🙂

Funny that because photography is all about accessing and using light. I am a lover of the light – I have always carried a camera: I love beauty and colour and nature and architecture, beaches and skies…also capturing moments, holding onto friends and family, making memories that will last.

So in 2013, when my writing about Sam’s journey dried up, among other new blogs at that time I decided to launch A lover of the light  (thanks to Mumfords for the title) and started sharing from my archive of thousands of pictures, not in a random order, but following each one with another that ties in to the subject or colour or form – or just my memory of the place and occasion. Just pictures, no words, a rolling gallery of beautiful shots.

I don’t take so many pictures now. Of course storing them becomes problematic and editing them all is a time-consuming chore. But once tweaked and stored in a special folder I have a select group to chose from. This practise takes me back into the beloved archive of memories surrounding them. Every time I do it light shines on me from another time and place – islands and holidays and adventures, or just my own country or hometown. They are places I love, seen at their best. The sense of bringing order, the satisfaction of creating something beautiful as I see the column of posts unfurl and smile at the choices I made to place THAT one after THAT one – all the way back to the first post 4 years ago, a view from a back window of our old house, Bricks and Leaves, autumn colours, russets and rooftops. There is still pleasure in it: light and colour, composition and that ‘rightness’ that artists seek 🙂

First thing this morning when I chose my 629th photograph, a red fishing boat to follow a beached dinghy in black and white I smiled at the contrast yet similarity. I remembered that day on the shingle beach somewhere on England’s south coast… a place for a family reunion, a meal in a pub, a beautiful day and Sam with his hair half-grown after radiotherapy reclining on a towel talking away as only he could to his sister… There is so much behind a picture. I wonder whose boat it is and where it is now…? The thoughts lead in different directions, but they are good thoughts.

Come holy light and shine on my heart… That’s a rather special picture I posted last week when I was just finishing off a run of sunsets 🙂 Thinking up the title is part of the fun – just a few words to put things in context. My ‘poetry partner’ Ray has even composed a poem out of titles I have used on the photo-blog! I will have to post that on Ray & Redhead – another blog that stumbles along – and link all the pictures he mentions: ha ha – a nice project for a wet weekend.

Welcome to my inner world. Despite the continued walk through the valley of the shadow of death I am still a lover of the light and it really helps.




Author: Sally Ann

True-story teller - words and pictures

3 thoughts on “A lover of the light

  1. Beautiful post, beautiful friend. I wish now that I’d read it later in the day. It has left me just wanting to sit and reflect. There is a reflective quality about what you’ve written. Its not raw any more but ponderable.
    Unfortunately my day isn’t going to let me just sit and ponder today but I will tuck this post in my heart from tonight when I can lie in bed and think about it XX

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I posted the poem with all the links to photos! The 3 blog link-up is complete 😉 It’s called Ad Infinitum on https://rayandredhead.wordpress.com/


  3. Lovely to chat last evening. Thanks for thinking of us and acting upon it. It is greatly appreciated. Especially in the context of seeming to have so much – and in the midst of so much pain for others and especially you both. We would love to see you soon, but Sicily and Rachel’s baby (3 weeks to go and breach at the moment – trying to turn it tomorrow) may stand in the way. But soon – when we can!

    Love you loads

    Paul (and V who is with her sisters) Xx


    Liked by 1 person

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