The Way Back Home
by Laura López Reñé
Photography by Marta Sánchez
Everything changed that cold November night. Looking back, I remember the tears, my throat thick with anger, and an intense, painful emptiness. Nothing was ever the same after that day, after that call. Some pieces no longer fit, some others were lost. From my bed, under the cool sheets, I can still hear his rough, resounding words. I am alone now with moments that never existed, thoughts about what might have been and would never be.
That feeling of sudden absence left me breathless, fragile, and unable to think clearly. I was in so much pain that I had to step back and give myself time to grieve. My body and mind asked me to disappear, to hibernate and wake up when light began to shine again. I needed a few months of silence to discover that, though time doesn’t erase the scars, it helps to heal the broken places. I have always known myself to be more sensitive and introspective than others, but even so, I started to feel ashamed for taking so long to get over this, so long to recover and forget. Fortunately a little whisper in the back of my mind assured me that I was taking the time I needed. No more, no less. I know it has been worth it.
The hardest part of missing someone are those things we ache to confess and can’t let out anymore. And yet, in the midst of this grief, I found courage- I let go of what was hurting my soul. I stopped looking for his trace in everything and discovered that there was nothing left of him.
Two years later, sometimes I still have to avoid thoughts that come to my mind and make me feel that old pain again. It becomes too present, too loud. Now it’s easier. now it’s harder. It has been a phase of transition, learning, and growth. A time of arduous ups and downs, of profound and necessary transformation. Holding my broken self together is hard. It requires learning to see with a new perspective, to make small steps forward, to move on even when I don’t know where to go.
In this time I have recovered fragments of me that, without realizing, I had lost along the path. Piece by piece, I have put myself together again. Perhaps by force, I have discovered that I like to be alone and there is nothing wrong in it- that it feels good to spend time with me, listening to my heart, seeking the depths of my essence, trying to find my direction. Walking this deep and lonely path, feeling naked and barefoot, I have been slowly losing all those layers under which I once hid myself. I have taken ownership of my steps and can now face my fears, mistakes and old beliefs. I understand how important is to accept life as it comes, taking advantage of every chapter, page and verse of our own stories.
Maybe these moments of pain are also the ones that, sooner or later, will give us the most rewarding lessons. The ones that lead us to light, to fresh air. Even when we feel unable to face the challenges of our unique journeys, we can learn that we’re extremely resistant, able to endure the storms and to re-sprout over and over again. We appear fragile, like snow drops, but are strong enough to bloom again and again, even after the harshest of winters.
It doesn't happen all at once. We become. It takes time, so much time… but if in the end we can transform all of that sorrow into an opportunity for self-discovery, perhaps the loss of stability was actually what we needed the most at that moment, to grow.
This, I have decided, is how to live, how to get over the pain and loss of these darker moments. This is how to grow and learn from unexpected and hurting changes, how to find out that there is a lot more beyond the limits we sometimes make for ourselves. My life changed that day in mid-November, but now I am beginning to see light again, to breathe deeply, to feel alive and to walk my way back home.
Laura López Reñé
I am Laura, a 23-year-old girl born, bred and living in a city by the sea. Writing and photographing are part of my days; they help me to express how I see and feel life. My work is always in progress- through pushing myself to learn, research, and capture words and images. I try to let myself go, to explore new paths and to find my true essence, my own voice in this wild world. You can see pieces of my days on Instagram and on my website, www.lauralopezrene.com.
Photography has been like a bright window inside me for more than half of my life now. I see photographs whenever I feel moved by an intense and intimate connection. I crave to preserve the essence of what I observe and listen when I get close to people and nature. This is why I chose photography. Or maybe it chose me.