When I was two years old, my father went into the woods with the intention of never coming back. For almost twenty years, my parents chose silence about his suicide attempt. Still, I found myself drawn to the place where the incident happened and on its anniversary a wave of grief washed over me. When my parents finally decided to tell me, it all started to make sense.

This project began as an investigation into the traces of a well-kept family secret. While I was revisiting my parents’ trauma – its locations, objects and memories that I could not call my own – I found it here, inside myself. My body always knew.

This is not only a story about a suicide attempt. It’s about the impossibility of secrets, about what we share when we hide. It is about pain inflicted out of love, the complexity of silence, and the unexplainable sadness of a boy.

Mum, Dad, this is your trauma, that you kept wrapped up in countless colorful blankets and yet unknowingly handed over to me in a loving embrace. I will carry it with care.

Bio: Peter Pflügler is a visual storyteller from Austria, currently living in the Netherlands. He studied photography at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague. His work centers on the dynamics of secrets and intergenerational trauma.
His project “Now is not the right time,” deals with the transformative power of silence in a family. It was published as a book by The Eriskay Connection in June 2023.