This Friday I photographed a wedding and at the same time a few states away, my childhood friend had a funeral for her dad who was killed tragically. He was the one who baptized me when I was a kid. She has been my longest friend. I cried during the ceremony because I saw the love of two families come together, and because I knew one was saying goodbye forever. It was a strange, sobering juxtaposition. I am bad at expressing my emotions in person, but writing is where I feel most myself. But even now the words fail me and I’m left a little lost.

I find myself questioning why we even bother to exist in this finite reality where people die and mental illness is real and yet we are denied and no one really knows what we are doing and sometimes your best isn’t good enough. And sometimes your worst makes some things unfixable … and yet this life has forgiveness where it feels like there can’t be any, and laughter and sunlight and animals to pet and good food to eat and sometimes something leaves us in awe, being so thankful we get to experience anything at all.

Sometimes life is senseless and chaotic. Sometimes it becomes too much. But its blessing and its curse is that it will continue on. Maybe those who die continue one too. Is there anything to even say to grief? It’s not fair, and I wish it could all be taken back despite the lessons or hidden opportunities that are there, even though I know they are there.

These past few years I feel like death has been lurking around every corner, and always where it shouldn’t have happened (should it ever happen?). What do we learn from death? That something new always grows from it, which sometimes we don’t want to admit. But we deserve to mourn too. You should never deny yourself your own feelings.

Life makes us cry when we see two people in love, and makes us cry when something tragic happens and the people we love most are taken away from us.

My heart absolutely breaks … I wish I could turn back time or I just wish there was no hurt in the world. I think of all the children in concentration camps and my heart breaks. I think of my friend and her family and my heart breaks for all of the pain they are experiencing. I wish all the sickness and pain could go away. See? The words do fucking nothing, they fail me, and we still have to live through all this pain. Why does anyone live when this is what life gives us? I guess so that we can watch people fall in love and see babies dancing and gaze upon the stars. Hard to imagine that all this pain is worth that, when the pain feels like it will never go away.

I cried a lot during that wedding from all the love and sadness and anger I felt. But one thing the officiant said I found really poignant. We so want to be seen in this world, for someone to know and understand us, and sometimes we are lucky enough to find a person that will bear witness to us, to say “I see you, and I will stand with you.”

I’m crying out “why didn’t you stop it from happening?” and “they didn’t deserve it!” But really only the word “why” feels close enough to describe how much my heart hurts. We might not ever be able to answer “why”, but at least it can help us say, “I see you, and I hurt with you, and I love you.”