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Light of Hope and Love

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Artist: Claudia Matteo, 44

Chantilly, VA

Ethnicity: Chinese

This photo was taken by my dad with artistic guidance from me on a trip to Maui to support my sister. She had recurring thoughts of suicide especially around Thanksgiving each year, which is when our mother had passed away years ago. She accepted help and was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and substance use disorder. My perspective of the photo shifted depending on where we were in the healing process. One day, the photo represented the support that her dog was able to provide her while I was there for her from a distance. During relapses, I saw the contrast between dark and light. What always stood out though was the light of hope and love. (She has since gotten married and has a beautiful child, so her support system has grown. I am so very proud of her.)