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Grieving former Charlotte resident hopes to deal with death of her daughter by making a short film

By Elisabeth Arriero
earriero@charlotteobserver.com

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Everyone deals with grief differently. And while some may isolate themselves until the pain goes away, former Charlotte resident Sheridan Hill wants to film how she and others are coping in the aftermath of her daughter’s untimely death.

“I can’t figure out any other way to work with the grief,” said Hill, of Black Mountain.

Corey Anne Considine, a massage therapist, was just two months shy of her 30th birthday when she was in an ATV accident in June near her Calistoga, Calif., home.

“It was a place she went often to watch the sunset,” said Hill. “We don’t know what happened because she was alone. It flipped and landed on top of her. It was very bizarre. It was one of those things you can’t figure out.”

Soon after her death, Hill started a blog to help process the grief.

“I felt the need, oddly enough, even though I’m a very private person, to do this publicly and to share the process,” she said. “In part because I don’t want to do it alone and, in part, because I feel like grief is a journey that most people don’t know how to navigate.”

Within six months, the website had received 10,000 hits, Hill said.

“I can tell people are wanting somebody to speak openly about what grief is, what it feels like and how to get through it,” said Hill, 60.

One day, a friend suggested that Hill create a Kickstarter campaign so she could make a short film about her daughter’s life and how her death has affected her loved ones. The website provides an avenue for people to raise funds for their creative projects.

It wasn’t too far a jump for Hill, given that she writes people’s biographies for them for a living.

“I’m aware that everything I do to work through my grief is potentially helpful,” said Hill.

So Hill created a Kickstarter page with a fundraising period of Dec. 9 through Jan. 8. As of Monday afternoon, she’d raised 77 percent of her fundraising goal of $3,700 – or about $2,855.

“The completion of the full video will be of great benefit to all beings who have had to endure the loss of a loved one or who will at some time in their lives – and that pretty much covers everyone on the planet,” wrote one donor who identified herself as Candace Freeland.

The money will go toward travel expenses throughout North Carolina and to California, Maryland and Virginia to videotape interviews with those who knew Considine. It will also pay for videotaping a few experts on death and transformation. And the money will help set up the video download and DVDs, said Hill.

“Grief is a territory that most of us don’t know how to navigate,” said Hill. “Whatever it is I’m going through, if I can narrate it, that could be useful to others.”

Considine’s older sister, Julia Considine, said she’s been moved by how many people have come together to support the project.

“We’re working through this process of grief together. We’re taking a pile of manure and making it into a garden,” said Julia Considine, 37, of Asheville. “Society doesn’t really show us healthy ways of grieving or being with our emotions. What Mom is doing is paving a path to show people how to deal with death in a different way.”

Arriero: 704-358-5945; Twitter: @earriero
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