Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Missing Dress Melt Down

Week 23 of my Self Portrait series on Grief - ©Sarah Treanor
I’m completely devastated this week. There was a horrible mixup while I was out of town last week and I discovered that a dress was accidentally thrown out. Not just a dress - but THE dress which I have been wearing in every weekly self portrait I have taken for the past 7 months (shown above). It was the main prop in this year-long series about living with loss. The irony here is not lost on me. I have just lost my most important prop in a project about losing my most important person. Gone without warning. Without my having any say in the matter. Just like my fiancé and our life together. It is all too familiar a story. 
What. The. Hell.
Now the entire project must change. I cannot replace the dress - it was vintage and would be impossible to find again. I'll have to instead continue the project in a new direction. The way I've had to continue my life in a new direction. I really HATE how precisely this event mirrors losing him. It has triggered me in all sorts of ways about his death and about my having to live on. 
It is especially devastating because I left my entire career behind when he died and I set out on this journey to live my dreams as an artist. I made some terrifying sacrifices and changes to my world in order to afford to work only on my art. For about a year and a half I just stumbled around lost. But then This project unfolded. And suddenly a direction for my future unfolded a bit some solid ground under my feet again. It has been the first thing to bring me hope about the future, and has helped me to be able to envision a future that excites me even at times. That dress felt like my island in a turbulent sea and now, I feel like I have been knocked back into the ocean all over again. 
I know somehow, this loss will come to mean something very deep. I know it will take things somewhere new… somewhere it would not have otherwise gone. Which is – I suppose – entirely appropriate for a series about death. This is what death does to our lives… it pulls the rug out from under us – forces us to re-evaluate everything. Pushes us to make changes and reminds us what’s important. Brings in new perspective and focus. Despite my realizing all of this deeper meaning – I still hate it. I still want desperately to have this dress back. And the love of my life back. And our future together back. And thus, it has been a long, rainy week of dramatic arm-failing, tears, and curse words. A lot of curse words. A lot of tears. A lot of reliving his death and my loss. 
I will make this work somehow… just as I’ve continued to make this life work since he died. But I'm scared shitless at the moment. I feel small, and vulnerable, and incapable. And I want him here to lean on, because he always made me feel invincible. And he isn't here. And the agony of that truth has been almost too painful to even feel this week. I guess the only thing to do is just keep on showing up every day the best I can and trust that whatever this new direction will be will come. Seriously. I’m SO OVER loss.


  1. You are an amazing person.

    You are strong.

    You have a bright spirit.

    I'm so sorry. I read your post and immediately teared. I know how hard it is to fight.... To make meaning, to stay positive and this was your outlet. Those words of "maybe losing the dress will mean something later on" or maybe "it' happened for a greater reason"... Came to my head also. But you were already open to those ideas. Regardless of them all, something's things happen and it just sucks! But the message I got from reading this post from a stranger I have never met was...

    You are amazing.

    You are strong.

    You have a bright spirit.

  2. dear Sarah,

    oh, the grief you must feel, the grief of losing "the" dress that helped launch you into the project with your photography that has been so healing and fulfilling and that gave you such hope for a future you were beginning to envision..."that dress felt like my island in a turbulent sea, and now, I feel like I have been knocked into the ocean all over again."

    what you go on to write is the you, within your core, that heart of yours still able to put meaning into such devastating loss - of the dress and all it symbolized and was a metaphor to help you move forward. but I am so in awe that you are being true to yourself as you express in such raw and deep candor the anger and desolation you feel about the lost dress, and how it so cruelly it magnifies all the feelings of the death of your beloved Drew, because it just wouldn't do justice to you and the authenticity you have always held forth with. grief can be such a greedy bitch. you and your willingness to meet her head on without ever minimizing your pain and feelings of vulnerability is so fraught with exhaustion and confusion. I am sending you loads of warm hugs to comfort you, to restore hope, and to be able to rise again back to a place where your drive and talent and inspiration to create will come back to you.

    much love,

    karen ooxxoo

  3. I loved that dress. I'll miss it too.


  5. I'm so over loss sums up my last few weeks perfectly. Really hard to keep regathering the energy to move forward, face everyday challenges. Just as I feel stronger another road block is thrown up. Trying to keep perspective and be grateful. Some days it's just hard.