Susan Rosenberg Jones was born and raised in Boston, and moved to New York City in 1976. She holds a BS in Education from Lesley College. As a post grad, she enrolled in SVA as an undergrad (at the time, they did not offer an MFA program)...
Focus:Photographer, Fine Art, Documentary, Photography, Domestic, Portraiture, Life Style, Events, Culture
Ronnye: “So he had his interests. And I had mine. We had our interests together. So I had a life apart from him. Not exclusively apart from him but I had a life. And I think that was important. It is important.”
Darrell: "We had a cocktail hour every Saturday evening after Roger came home from church and before going out to dinner. It usually included wine or champagne, cheese, some fruit, nuts, and crackers. We would have some unobtrusive music on. This would be our time, every week, to really talk to each other. About life, our shared or personal histories or any plans we had for the future."
Danielle: “Grief counseling. Whenever I would feel lost, I would give them a call. That really helped a lot.” “I just think everybody deals with it differently. A lot of people have opinions on how you handle it.”
Jane: “After he died I joined a bereavement support group which was a really good thing to do. The social worker who led it said 2 very important things that I found helpful: ‘Keep busy. And time will make things better.’ There’s a lot of pain and it’s almost like a physical pain.”
Jane: “I’ve read that when older people lose their partners then you don’t get touched. To be without touch is a terrible thing. It’s like up there with food and shelter. And that’s why it’s good to get out there and meet people and yes, have companionship. I think people sort of go back to their usual state before a spouse died. I mean if you’ve been a person with a sense of humor you will go back to having a sense of humor- you retain your basic self.”
Diana: "I was never a therapy person, never, never had a therapist growing up, adulthood, until I realized that I couldn't handle the grief, not because it was grief, but because it came to me when I didn't expect it and oftentimes not conveniently. So,the grief is not the problem at all. I mean I want to feel the grief because it's the only place where I can visit him, where he exists now. There's such a sense of relief when it interrupts your day, when you're in the middle of business or when you're in the middle of Barnes and Noble shopping and then you'll hear a song...and I realize that maybe I need to have it more often and not on the rare random moments where I'm doing my thing and and it hits. Maybe I should be more aware of it as this living breathing organism and incorporate it into my life more."
Diana:"Part of taking care of yourself is taking care of your kids because it's all the same. That's what I say. And my therapist or a friend will say, what have you done for you? And I say, you're only as happy as your most miserable child. The best thing of all is these two kids and when they have suffered trauma,you are that much more fierce about your happiness being in large part about their being able to adjust and cope and function with the grief and sadness in their lives, and to also learn that they can experience joy and pleasure."
Sue:"I was a member of the “Y” in which I still am. And when I came in after sitting shiva, everybody said, just keep on going, keep on going. And if anybody asks you to go out, go even if you don't like them, go, just get out. And that's what I did."
Sue:"I went to a bereavement group at the “Y” and I said the problem that I had was that I had no women friends. We were all couples. And so one of the yentas said to me, ‘when you stop playing bridge with all the men you’ll have women friends’. So I started to play Mah- Jongg."
Dennis:"She died the second month of this year, February. I'm seeing a lot of people from all walks of my life. I'm getting together for lunches, dinners, hanging out with people and I'm also seeing my therapist twice a week. So I guess I'm taking care of myself the best I can. I'm scared because, you know, I'm 72. Judy and I found love relatively late in life and I thought we would grow old together, I really feel lost,really feel like the wind kicked out of me and I feel like half a person. So every day is different. Some days. are more weepy than others.I'm not sure what brings it on. I don't like being home by myself in the mornings, and the nights are very hard. I wake up with a lot of anxiety in my chest."
Judy:"Wow. It's kind of romantic. I loved it. It was kind of a wild story. It was like God put his hand in and said,'here are two people who might enjoy each other's company'. And indeed we did. We were best friends, we were lovers, we were adventurers together. He was just my favorite person in the whole world. We shared so much. We each had a lot of interests, some of which we shared, some of which we didn't share, some of which we taught each other to share."
Judy:"I feel his presence very strongly sometimes and I mean I've never tried to pin down what it is that triggers that. I know sometimes I get into bed at night and I know there's something I can discuss with him and then it sort of hits me - 'well no. you can't'. Um, it's very jarring. And his presence is very real. Sometimes, I'll be in the bedroom or I'll be here in the living room and I know he's in the other room. I just know he's in the other room."
Paula: "We complemented each other and she was very supportive. September 11th, 2001, I made a decision to change my life, I jumped out of the corporate world, gave up my six figure income to pursue the arts and she supported me. She was all for it. So I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for her. I think she taught me to be a risk taker, you know?
The things in my life I do, I do for joy and if it doesn't bring me joy or someone doesn't bring me joy, it's not in my life. That's how I survived and I have to say too that my friends were unbelievable. There's one couple who fed me for a year because they knew I wouldn't bother and I would come home and there would be this gift package on my front porch and they'd even provide, you know, the surprise, like a cookie, which I would never do for myself.
I remember once my dad died, I looked through the big picture window that looks into the living room and I saw my mother in there just walking aimlessly, like she didn't know what to do and that picture really didn't resonate with me until I went through it. And I know exactly what she was doing. She was lost.
I really do think that it's important to get out in nature, and to just examine the basis of life really under a stone, there's so much life going on under there that we forget about.
It shouldn't be that the death of a loved one makes so many of us go through life doing things we don't love. We do it for the money or we don't ask questions of ourselves, we just do. ‘This is my lot in life’ - and it doesn't have to be. Change is good. Pursue your passions if you're able financially. There’s a way to pursue those passions without having to give up everything. I think that's just so important for survival, you know, live it every day as if it were your last dance. Who cares who’s watching right?
It's the only gift you can give to yourself - is that being allowed to be wild. It's okay. And then, I think the biggest gift that comes out of a horrible event like this is empathy, developing empathy. I think I will never miss a ceremony of a friend or a friend’s loved one. I think it's so important to be there. I want to be like the people who were in my life who helped me. Don't be afraid to say you need help, that doesn't mean you're weak. Ask for help. There’s no stigma in going to a counselor. You need it. And actually, you'll develop friendships that are probably life lasting afterwards".