Her cancer had come back.
She had been cancer free for over five years and now it was everywhere.
I returned home to be with my dying mom.
One day she was turning over in bed and we heard a loud snap – we called the hospice nurse and she suggested taking her into the hospital – we called an ambulance.
She had broken her arm and didn’t even realize it.
I didn’t want to know it at the time, she was very close to death – but I probably did know it
They fixed her arm and sent her home
Then a few days later her breathe was labored
I watched the life drain from her – she became blue.
Her end was my beginning
After she died, I had a series of haunting night dreams, the kind that make you sit up in bed. I was compelled to do something with those images from my dreams.
The series of images I created were blue images and they were one section of a big body of work call Inside the Belly of the Whale
It’s been over 28 years since my mom died, I’ve spent that time thinking, talking, researching, creating, observing and creating artwork. Wondering what is grief, death and life is and how I and we all deal with it all.
There is no escaping the harshness of life.
There’s no escaping the timing
And there’s absolutely no way around the tragedy of living
We all walk around with unresolved grief, loss and trauma
What we do with our pain and how do we hold beauty and the pain of life at the same time?
I’ve come to believe that art inspired by and created from hurt and pain can touch us in ways that we never thought it could. At the same time, such art may make it easier to face and learn to be with our own pain.
I first heard Cringe – stripped version by Matt Maeson, it was on the radio – haven’t heard on the radio since, it has now been months. I searched the song online and found it on YouTube. As I was listening, I scrolled down to the comments – it was very heartbreaking to read what people had to say, they were moved enough to share and wanted to discuss.
I said just tired and she said you’re just tired, leaves the listener thinking that “she said” high and not tired and I heard fine so…
The line Don’t I make you cringe seems to be a bit confessional and also realizing that life can bring us to our knees.
Also the line I saw you in the water, seems to be a topic discussion – “what does it mean.” It can mean a variety of things, depending who’s listening so maybe it can be a simple as water heals.
When art comes from pain we have an opportunity to open up a little more. To be able to sit with the pain takes practice and it seems that’s why we need to keep listening, reading and telling stories so that the pain may dissipate even if it’s just for a bit.
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