It’s strange for me watching this little portrait of my life which was shot back in September of 2013 by the inspiring René Eckert. Not only do I marvel at the size of my bum back then (just kidding) but I’m struck by how lonely some of the shots feel, especially the ones depicting the cubs’ and my life. My original intention for agreeing to make this short film was to, in some way, inspire those who watch it to realise that however challenging the situation, there is life to be lived. But after my initial viewing, all I could see was a snapshot of a broken little family and a woman doing all that she could to step back up. And like an unexpected slap across the cheek, I was left reeling in the truth of a painful chapter gone by.
When I watched the movie for the second time, again somewhat confused by my feelings, all I could think about was that I wanted you all to see more of just how much happiness there was and IS in our lives, despite losing gorgeous Andy. I wanted you to see more of the extraordinary Australian landscape that we are so very privileged to live in, and its abundance of blue skies and sunshine. And I wanted you to see the amazing support we have from our friends and community far and wide.
I didn’t want sympathy or sorrow, sadness or apology, or for anyone to be overwhelmed by our sense of loss, which is what I found myself feeling and giving to the woman and children I saw in the film.
But I realise now, after switching my mind off and having temporarily put my overpowering ego in the corner, that this is a really beautiful and accurate visual portrait of a very important time in our lives. It captures the incredible solitude and aloneness that losing a part of you will temporarily manifest.
When I reflect back just 8 short months ago, despite it feeling like a million miles away, I feel myself struggling to avoid the pain of the past which can feel as raw as a freshly sliced cut, depending on how long I choose to stay in that moment. But that was then and this is NOW, a time where I can now choose to let go……
So to you, the beautiful Maybe McQueen community, I bare and share myself once again and acknowledge that to really inspire living life to the fullest, we must remember to share the ups and downs, as it is the place in the middle, in the calm of reflection, that insight is born.
Nothing but love …..
In all works of art, deep shadow is vital because it provides necessary depth and perspective. It follows that in a life painted with dark challenges, there exists the inevitable brilliance of opportunity.
Life coach Vashti Whitfield was staggered by the loss of the love of her life and father to her two children in 2011, Spartacus-starring actor Andy Whitfield, to cancer.
Around the same time, filmmaker René Eckert stepped away from his life’s work for several months when he experienced his passion dwindle into routine. He documented the cinematic story of his near-burnout which Whitfield discovered online soon after and contacted Eckert.
A series of emails culminated in Eckert’s unannounced arrival in Sydney in 2013, guided only by his overwhelming desire to merge her compelling narrative with his, and to inspire others to move forward with clarity, purpose and hope.
This film is a testament to Whitfield’s unflagging love for her husband, her children and the great gift of life, despite its seemingly insurmountable obstacles. And is a tribute to those who continue to navigate out of the dimly-lit spaces of adversity: those passionate, steadfast lovers of life and light.