I don’t really have words right now.
I never imagined what would come from posting a photo of a heartbreaking and beautiful statue that sits in a park on the other side of the world. I was taken aback when I first saw the artwork.The sculpture is called Melancolie. It was created by Albert György and can be found in Geneva, Switzerland.
There was something haunting – yet stunning – about it. Then I read the post written by a man named John Maddox and my heart broke.
It said, “”We may look as if we carry on with our lives as before. We may even have times of joy and happiness. Everything may seem “normal”. But THIS,
“Emptiness” is how we all feel…all the time.”
I can’t even begin to imagine that pain. Although, I nearly lost my daughter years ago, I still have her with me. I do know far too many people who have experienced this unthinkable, unimaginable pain. Too many.
So, the artwork spoke to me. I posted it and was completely overwhelmed by the tens of thousands of comments that came along. The millions of engagements from people all around the world – folks who’ve lost so much. Folks who’ve felt alone for so long. Folks who’ve never really been able to explain how they’ve felt since losing a child, a husband, a wife. Their words are poignant. And beautiful. And agonizing.
I’ve received literally thousands of Facebook messages and emails from many of those people. I’ve long known that when people lose someone – a parent, a sibling, a child – the one thing they want to ensure – always – is that their loved one is NEVER forgotten. I’ve known that from covering stories of loss for many years as a news reporter. Often times, folks, even in their darkest grief – want to talk about their loved one. They want to share photos and stories. They want to keep their memory alive.
That’s what I’ve found over the past few days, too.
When I first started getting comments – I was so worried. I didn’t want that post to make anyone feel bad or bring up bad memories or feelings. But soon, I started to see the other side. First of all, folks who’ve dealt with this type of loss do not need to see a photo to feel their pain. It’s always there. Many appreciated the artwork, many commented how thankful they were; they no longer felt alone. Many said because of that statue – they were finally able to explain to people how they felt – without saying a word. The art showed their emptiness, their sadness, their heartache. The gaping hole explains so much.
Here are just a few of the comments that struck me –
“A friend just sent me this link/photo. I immediately broke into tears. For the first time in 5 years since my beautiful son Samuel died, I feel my journey has been acknowledged and physically represented by this sculpture, something words have failed to convey thus far. Reading the other comments, I felt a type of spiritual camaraderie that for a moment, seemed to help sooth the rough edges of the hole that has existed since his passing.”
“This sculpture depicts the giant hole in my heart, soul, and life left by the loss of my dear son, Trey Lange. I miss you every second of my day.”
“Beautifully poignant. A hole in the heart no one can fill. We must all come together to remember and love in loss.”
“The artist captured my body sensation. I lost my son John Strahm October 3, 2012. Thank u for sharing this poignant piece with me.”
“This is exactly how I feel after losing my son last year at 38. Nothing ever fills the hole. Wonderful statue. Very fitting.”
“What a powerful piece of art. The gaping hole left in ones heart and soul, the heaviness that weighs on ones shoulders, the loss of joy is so prevalent in this piece.
“For those who have lost children to death by illness, suicide, accident or to grips of drug and alcohol abuse this artist has captured the essence of a parents soul.”
“Absolutely awesome sculpture. This I can relate to. Lost my beautiful daughter Colette when she was 15 yrs old.”
“I could write a book of a thousand pages and it would not describe my pain with the death of my son Justin Ethan better than this sculpture.”
” It is so precise and clear in describing the pain, sorrow and emptiness. Thanks to the artist for showing everyone how I feel for the so many losses my family has suffered”
And there are many others. As we move along in our lives, it’s easy to not think about how much suffering is in this world. This was a truly important reminder of that for me. So many live with excruciating pain every single day – and that is another HUGE reason why judging others, being mean or short with people, and losing empathy in our culture is not acceptable.
I found people encouraging and consoling one another. I found people letting out emotions they hadn’t been able to. I found so much sadness. So much. But, I also found so much inspiration and love. So much love.
There are no guarantees in this life – we are granted the pursuit of happiness – but it is up to us to find it and hold onto it. Prayers of peace to all who are suffering – for whatever reason.
We have to remember that we are all in this together. That’s why this post went viral – seen by 21 million people. That is why it has been shared from our Facebook Page more than a quarter of a million times. Because we do care – SO much – for one another. There is so much good in the world. We want to help others. We want to be together, be there for one another. That’s what I believe. I hope you do, too.
For those wondering about the statue and artist, here is more information –
UPDATE: MESSAGE FROM ARTIST
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