Stillbirth & Surfing | A Grief Journey

still-birth

Stillbirth & Surfing | A Grief Journey

To lose a child … was something that could end one’s world. One could never get back to how it was before. The stars went out. The moon disappeared. The birds became silent. – Alexander McCall Smith

Mark Twain said that there aren’t enough words in all the languages in the world to express the sorrow of losing a child. This is a short film I produced while grieving for my daughter, Willow, who was stillborn.

This short actually forms the centerpiece of a feature length surf film I made, called Seaworthy. Since the film’s release, I have received many heartfelt words of sympathy and encouragement. There have been scores of letters and emails from surfers from all over the world that have been sensitive, authentic, and moving. I have been especially touched by the messages from those who have travelled their own grief journeys. I am awed and humbled that my work somehow resonated with others’ broken hearts.

A common theme echoed among the beautiful feedback I’ve received is that the story deserves a wider audience. Surf films, by definition, appeal to only a limited demographic, and the kind of surf films I make are left-of-center even within surfing circles. So I decided to post this online, in the hope that it may reach a few others, especially those who may be living with loss, and longing.

All of us experience and express grief in varied ways, which is a good thing since we’re all different. Because I’m a surfer, this is how I gave expression to my experience of bereavement.

Thanks for taking the time to watch.

-Nathan Oldfield

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Growing up in New Jersey, Shawn discovered and quickly immersed himself in the sub-culture of surfing and skateboarding in the mid 80’s. With a diverse and eclectic background, Shawn has walked the path of a competitive surfer, Hare Krsna monk, action sports industry player in NYC, DIY theology and religions major, and a touring punk rock musician. Now a father and self-proclaimed seeker of the “soul” of surfing, Shawn enjoys sessions with friends at uncrowded peaks along his home state’s shoreline and writing about his surf related experiences.

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