When Jo Haycock first shared her Discarded With Honour project, I was instantly inspired and began thinking about what things in my life am I holding on to.  When she invited other photographers to join in her project each week for the month of December I was so happy to be able to be  part of it. We didn't need to actually discard the objects unless we wanted to, but we did need to honour them in whichever way that felt right. I didn't know at the time just how cathartic and powerful this project would be for me. It's had such an affect on all of us who participated that we have decided to continue this collaboration once a month for the rest of this year. 

"Among my most prized possessions are words that I have never spoken." Orson Scott Card

Welcome to our #discardedwithhonour blog circle. This has been an artists' collaboration throughout December 2021, giving celebration and honour to the possessions in our lives that no longer serve us. Sometimes these objects stop bringing us the joy they once brought. By giving them a ceremonial goodbye, through our stories and photographs, we get to reconnect with them. We get to let them go.

Week 1, December 3, 2021

For my first post, I've decided to honour these rose petals. I haven't had them for long. They have been in the pocket of my winter coat since I was in Sweden, about two weeks ago. But for some reason I have kept them there, refusing to throw them away. They were from a bouquet of roses that my mamma's dear friend had bought her, we had just left the grocery store with them when one fell off and fell to the ground rolling underneath her wheelchair. I immediately picked it up, savoured it's smell and put it into my pocket as a little memory of that day with my mamma. It was our third day of seeing eachother after not seeing eachother for over 3.5 years. She has Alzheimer's but she still loves flowers and she had chosen these roses. She thought they were beautiful and couldn't wait to put the bouquet in her room. Whenever I would reach my hand into my pocket since I've been back, I think of her and that happy day we had together (there was so much giggling especially while in the grocery store) and it makes me smile. It also makes me think of the beauty of friendship because her friend,  who we were with is someone who she has always loved so much and even though she no longer really remembers him he still shows up. I've always thought of him as a kind of angel in her life, he really is someone so special. It's amazing really how just some rose petals can hold so much.

Week 2, December 9, 2021

We had been intentionally trying to have a baby for a while when finally we got a positive pregnancy test. It was march 2012. We were so incredibly happy and hopeful and excited about what was to come. Finally we were starting our family. But sadly it was very short-lived. I had experienced some bleeding and went in for an early pregnancy scan and remember feeling overjoyed when we could hear the heartbeat. We thought everything was ok. Only to return to the hospital a couple of days later after releasing some very big blood clots and found out that there was no longer a heartbeat. Afterwards I remember feeling so empty and heartbroken. I needed to immerse myself in nature, which is always where I turn when things feel hard and we went to our sacred place of Snowdonia and camped in the mountains. It was exactly what I needed and I remember feeling healed and soothed afterwards. After that experience it wasn't until may 2015 when I finally became pregnant again with our beautiful Phoenix and our journey into parenthood finally was able to begin.

I've kept the last scan in my jewelry box ever since and always see it whenever I open it. It's becoming frayed and crumpled and I feel it's finally time to honour this baby that was only meant to be with me for a brief moment in time

Week 3, December 16, 2021

This was the little bracelet that the Dr's put on me after I was born 42 years ago. I was number 886. I happened to be born 6 or 7 weeks early and was put into an incubator due to my lungs not being fully developed. The first time my mamma got to touch me was through rubber gloves two weeks later. 

I'm not sure how long I had to be in the incubator and how long until I got to be held in my mamma's arms but this little bracelet is a reminder of where I came from and no matter how tough things might be, I will always persevere and overcome my struggles and any obstacles in my way.

So I don't think I'll be discarding this anytime soon, but I wanted to honour it.

Week 4, December 23, 2021

The winter solstice is a time for reflection and a time for releasing things that no longer serve us. this year I had a lot to release, the relationship with my dad./

It's been about 2 months since I found out about your passing. We hadn't spoken in about 8 years and in many ways I had already grieved our relationship as if it was a death a long time ago but the cords between us were still there, although invisible, only alive in the shadows. 

I wrote you a letter today. Pouring my heart into ink on pages upon pages of paper. It's the first time I've done so, allowing my heart to be heard and honoured. I felt physical sickness at the same time, my emotional centre, my solar plexus taking the brunt of it. It was a day of purging. Today I am releasing all the bad memories, the darkness, the unsaid words, the confusion,  even the good memories and the happy contradictions that I have held in my body. I no longer need to carry them around with me.

In honour of you, of your part in my story, I'm planting a tree.  It is my way of having closure. The tree for me is a symbol of strength, hope and continuous renewal. I burned my letter and scattered the ashes into the soil of the tree. I am taking the past out of every part of my body and releasing it into the earth. Transmutating it into something beautiful. 

Afterwards, the tears flowed and I could feel your presence around me, like a cloud, maybe this was the parts of you I let go. Maybe in setting myself free I set you free too. Now, the empty spaces within me, those spaces that I have freed, can finally blossom and bloom into something new &  extraordinary.

Please visit the next artist, the talented Diana Hagues to hear about their experience over the past month.