I thought I knew what death looked like
I had a husband once. Our lives were intricately woven together, and then I lost him. To an accidental death, too soon. I lost not just the person I loved, but all that went with that love—the feeling of being deeply known and accepted, the comfort of our routines, the shared memories that became mine alone to carry.
I wondered if there would be an endpoint to our love and my loss? Did I even want there to be an end to this grieving?
As the days turned into years, all I wanted was to integrate the feeling of this profound loss into my life—and create an ongoing connection with the beloved person who died—while also finding a way to continue living beyond my grief. The connection I found was unusual and effective, and it presented a way for me to fill that emptiness:
I visited cemeteries and photographed all that I saw going on inside them to create this body work entitled "I thought I knew what death looked like."
—Nanette Rae Freeman, 2018, Chicago
This collection is dedicated to Dominique Wilkins, whose loss of her sister taught me to open my eyes much wider than they've ever been open.