A new art installation in Brooklyn seeks to remind participants that they are not alone in their grief.
“When my husband passed away, this was really the place we wanted him to be,” said Jill Goodkind of Green-Wood Cemetery. She lost her husband Tom to stomach cancer two-and-a-half years ago. He was 65 years old.
“When you lose somebody very, very dear to you, like your husband, you go through learning about mourning and grieving in a different type of way,” she said.
Goodkind decided to share that grief through an art installation called “After the End,” located inside the historic chapel at Green-Wood where her husband also happens to be buried.
“This exhibit is a manifestation of how they combine art, grieving, caring and community.”
Inside the chapel is meditative music and a glowing centerpiece with more than 2,800 holes for hand-written scrolls. Visitors are greeted with pens, paper and a prompt: “Describe your loss. What comforts you?”
Grief and community are at the very heart of “After the End.”
“Only we know what we lost, and yet everyone else is also going through the same condition," said James Reeves who created the installation along with Candy Chang. Both of Reeves parents died when he was young. He said “After the End” is a space for everyone to share their experience with loss, himself included.
“There might be some days where I can’t necessarily express how I feel but just coming into this space and to see other people feel the same way too because grief is just so isolating.”
Reeves and Chang began working on this piece in 2018 before the COVID-19 pandemic took 755,000 American lives.
“The pandemic only exacerbated a lot of things, a lot of problems that were already happening," said Chang. “Sharing our darkest struggles and what has helped us. I feel like that’s probably the greatest gift we can offer to one another.”