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People Are Recreating Photos of Loved Ones They've Lost in Moving TikTok Challenge

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I was recently introduced to a challenge on TikTok that’s going around called the “#IWannaFeelAgain” challenge. People are using this hashtag and a version of the song “Touch” by Sleeping at Last to recreate a photo they took with a loved one who has passed away. 

This challenge has spread to all types of loss, from the loss of pets, pregnancy loss and child loss, as well as the loss of siblings, parents, grandparents, romantic partners and other family members. These videos are powerful — it’s a new way to see the void grief leaves in our lives.

While watching these videos, you’re able to see a whole range of emotions all at once. From pure, raw pain to intense love and even acceptance in some cases. These videos are a way to show that no matter how much time has passed, your loved one will always be on your mind and in your heart. You can see a compilation below:



Posted by TikTok Epic Pranks on Sunday, June 7, 2020


I’ve experienced a lot of loss throughout my life and have grieved each one differently. Between the sudden loss of my grandfather, losing pets throughout my life, losing my friends throughout the chronic illness community and so on. 

However, the loss that really comes to mind while watching these videos is the loss of my best friend since middle school to suicide at the beginning of August in 2018. I truly feel that if I had known about this sooner, I would’ve had an easier time accepting the losses that I’ve felt. Often times, when I go back and look at the pictures I have together with my loved ones who have passed away, I think to myself, “I wish that I could have just one more picture with them. One more memory that’s preserved in a way I can see with my eyes.” I think this challenge is a great way to honor that “just one more” feeling.

Recreating those photos can be a cathartic, although painful, experience. You are able to see the void that’s left when you lose someone, as opposed to just feeling it in your heart. The emotions that get brought up can be expressed in all sorts of different ways. You can have tears of joy, sadness or pain, you can laugh, you may even feel anger. But the end goal from recovering from a loss is typically to reach that acceptance point where you finally come to at least a little bit of peace that they’re not coming back. And once you reach that point, there may be a weight lifted off of your shoulders as you sigh to yourself and say, “I made it.”

When you lose someone who you love, you may feel like your entire world is falling apart and that you won’t be able to survive it. The pain is suffocating, the emotions are like a tornado in your brain. But a beautiful thing about these videos is that it shows you that you did survive it. And while that pain may still be there, you can look at the original photo side-by-side with the recreated photo and see just how far you’ve come. You were able to get through the initial process of grief, and I am so proud of each and every person who has accomplished that. 

These videos also show that there is no time limit for grief since the photos being recreated can be photos from recently, as well as photos from years ago. Once grief is introduced to you, it stays with you for the rest of your life. But these recreations show that while you’ll never “get over it,” you will get through it.

A few of these videos really stuck out to me. The ones that show pregnancy loss are truly heartbreaking. When you see men and women in a military uniform in one picture and gone in the next you can’t help but feel a huge sense of gratitude for their service and sacrifice for our country. The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on us all, and it can be easy to lose perspective — when you see one of those videos you quickly get reminded that we still have people risking their lives to help ensure our safety during such trying times. 

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The style of videos that has the strongest impact on me were the ones containing an empty doorway. Typically, the original picture or video that’s being recreated has the loved one who has passed away either standing in or walking through the door. Once they do the recreation you just see an empty doorway. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve waited for a person I’ve lost to walk through the door. How badly I yearn for them to come through just one more time and get one last moment. How many times I’ve looked at my phone thinking I would see their name on my screen or waiting for a call back after I call them to listen to the sound of their voice on their voicemail message. That style is going to touch a lot of people because anyone who has experienced a tragic loss knows the feeling of hoping that they’ll walk through the doorway so you can see them one more time even though you know it isn’t possible. 

I hope these videos teach people they don’t need to suppress the emotions they feel from grief. Too often we feel as if we have to rush ourselves through the phases and carry on with life when in reality, you need to let yourself go through those phases and express them. The videos from this challenge also show you that all types of people experience grief. While traveling through the phases of grief it’s very easy to feel alone and isolated. I sincerely hope this challenge helps bring people peace and shows them they’re not alone. I definitely know it helped me. 

Screenshot via TikTok

Originally published: July 7, 2020
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