LOSS. What does loss require of us?

The elements of my youngest daughter’s death in 1989 were complicated, likewise the mourning that had me wandering around hospitals.

“Post traumatic stress disorder”, “acute unresolved grief reaction”, “manic” were the psychiatric terms. The medical diagnoses were just as prolific. Drugs or therapy were not an option. An exasperated doctor told me to throw myself into my work. So I took his advice. Literally.

This is not a story about my child’s life or her death. This is the story of the not-so-ordinary family journey that followed.

On the surface it appeared I was a woman set on making an inspirational film about an expedition ten thousand miles from home and twenty three thousand feet higher than my desk, with my surviving daughter in tow. The truth? This grandiose pursuit made more sense to me than leaving my apartment to buy food.

Looking back now, I understand I was unable to function in the ordinary world.

But I was thriving in the extra-ordinary world my grief was pursuing, a world of longings to be set down in a new place far from this place and visions of exactly where that place might be.


LOSS calls upon metaphysics, myth, meaning – invisible worlds that beckon when ordinary life fails to provide a satisfactory landscape to explore the painful physical elements of death. Where is she? Suddenly the form is gone. As Joseph Campbell explains in an essay on tragedy and comedy *”tragedy is the shattering of the forms and of our attachment to the forms…”


Is this the end of the relationship? No time for mourning when GRIEVING launches as a pursuit of the unconscious to create a new form for the relationship. The stirring of consciousness by physical death is a call for transformation, for alchemy between worlds.


These stirrings and longings, visions and energy inexplicable exploded into creation of a new form. A dog and pony show? CHAOS? Or a perfectly ordered plan? The film documents the friction between the inner and the outer, when energy collides with matter and the villains who get in the way.


Looking back, I realize no matter what I would have undertaken at that time it would have yielded the same result. Had I built a monument, and I wanted to, it would have collapsed. Perhaps I should have made a quilt.

What can happen to a quilt?


Some NOTES on the making of the film:

It is suggested that filmmakers write about some interesting or unusual details about the making of their film.

Over the years I’ve been asked many questions:

How do you make a film without all the funding in place?

Where did you get the development money?

Is it really twenty-three years?

What about the sponsors?

How do you sustain enthusiasm (between bouts of depression and illness) for one project for twenty nine years?


How do you recover from this – having your FILM NEGATIVE CHOPPED INTO LITTLE PIECES and patched together completely out of shot order? (Something unkown until after the negative had been transferred, at great expense, to digital format for editing.) Making all the previous years of work and expense for not?


How do you re-sync something completely out of shot order? (Imagine one person assembling a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle without a picture). Alone?


And, how do you edit this English language mess in a foreign country with a Chilean editor who speaks no English?

And WHY?


Just thinking about HOW the film got made overwhelms me.

The film is about WHY.


Lois V Harrison
Copyright 2018