For the last couple years, in addition to producing this show, I’ve also been doing interviews for an organization called The Wake Up to Dying Project. The basic goal of the project is to encourage people to think and talk more about the fact that we die, and at the heart of the project is a sound exhibit that features audio stories–lots and lots of them. Last month I did an interview for this project with a mother who had lost a baby after three weeks of life. I was incredibly nervous about this interview, and I realized that I was worried that by talking about the loss of this child, I’d feel even more afraid of it than I already do with my own son. I didn’t want to be that close to something that scared me so much.
But when I left the interview I felt strangely comforted. There is something comforting in talking about this thing we try so hard not to think about. And though there’s much sadness, and confusion, and grief in this story, there’s also tremendous resilience and love.
This is Susan Wahlrab. She’s a painter and she lives with her family in the deep woods of Calais Vermont. Eighteen years ago she lost her son, Grayson, to a virus after three weeks of life. Here are excerpts from our conversation.
The painting you see featured on this page is by Susan Wahlrab. It’s called What Are You Opening To
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