“Psychoanalysis uses the term 'anticipatory grief' referring to the feelings experienced by those waiting for someone to die. Knowing their loved one is dying, they start the mourning process before the actual death.”[...] “But it could be argued that anticipatory grief is in fact a phenomenon that occurs when the one we are mourning is very far from death. The result of anticipatory grief is the painful realization that the object already contains the possibility of its non-existence. A nothingness is created.” (From: The New Black: Mourning, Melancholia and Depression - Darian Leader)
Pain of actual and potential loss is the primary idea behind the video piece “If A Thing May Be, It May Also Not Be”. In this video I explore a personal relationship between two opposite stages of life and also examine where I am standing in relation to those; how I can see my own self in those two images, both the infant’s and the elderly person’s, and how peculiarly analogous I see them to the other.
Freud touches on the idea of anticipatory grief in his paper ‘On Transient’. When we think about the transience of an object, there is a “foretaste of mourning over its disease”. Concepts of time and mortality are closely involved here, but also the sensation of love. In this video, I try to broach the question if the act of anticipatory grief is a part of the birth of human love itself? Does love always involve this “foretaste of mourning”?
Time and space are the other two notions that strike me in the subject of loss. “We preserve the lost object inside of us in a symbolic space of representation, not allowing it to be forgotten. Being forgotten is a kind of death. There is also a temporal dimension to loss, since it relates to losing a possession we once had, in the past. However, it is in the present that we are made aware of an actual or potential loss”. We sense the potential loss by imagining a future that the loved “object” is no longer possessed or no longer ‘present’, therefore its potential absence can be sensed in the present, which again causes the ‘anticipatory grief’.
In relation to mourning and melancholia; Giorgio Agamben also writes: "Although mourning follows a loss that has really occurred, in melancholia not only it is unclear what object has been lost, it is uncertain that one can speak of a loss at all.”
The realisation that something we love or admire could be lost can cause massive discomfort, though I have tried to challenge this fact by showcasing one of the most comforting actions of all, which is falling into sleep. Here the act of sleeping can be equated with the notion of rebirth into presence.
This notion harmonizes the eastern sufism and mysticism perception of the death which suggests that death accompanies life; and that beauty, joy and pleasure are indebted to death, that death like any other fundamental rule of life is required so that all beings would be able to achieve perfection. From this mystical point of view, death is a simple phenomenon; when it happens it does not affect life. Life is a continuous and perpetual movement that nothing can stop it.