My thirteen-year-old nephew died of a drug overdose on my daughter's ninth birthday in 2016. We had just moved to London and were starting to feel at home after a transatlantic move and, this sent us into a tailspin.
Trying to untangle the mess of joy and pain from these two events on the same day, I turned to writing. I wanted to explore holding space for someone in pain - embracing the discomfort of someone else's sorrow and lightening their load for a time.
My mother took a remarkable photo of my sister the first time she saw her son’s body. It’s a pietà, a mother mourning her son, so much love, heartbreak, sorrow. From that photo, I came up with this story: a photographer who comes to take remembrance portraits for a couple who have suffered a stillbirth.
This is the photographer's story. It’s about a woman who, for her own personal reasons and her own personal history with loss, gives the gift of her time and talent to another family in pain. She holds the space for them, and by doing so, offers them comfort, and for the father, offers a way into connecting with his son. It comes at a cost to her, it’s uncomfortable and scary. She is bold, gentle and most of all, PRESENT. This is what I hope people will take away from the film. We can all be present for those in pain.
Each actor found the moment-to-moment choices: to stay, to go, to speak, to stay silent, to move, to invite, to inhale, to exhale. All their performances are fully present.
Making this film has been healing for me. My hope is it will be for others too. I also want to start some conversations - about grief, about stillbirth, about loss, and most of all, about holding space for each other.