Sunday, October 28, 2007

5 Hours Later . . .

"When I was very tiny, I was afraid that my mother and father would die. I didn't want to be without them. I asked my mom, "If a person goes to sleep in a coffin, would they be dead?" Her spoken answer didn't remain with me, but her actions did . . ."

This short message was written for an art piece when I was still in school. The assignment was to create a 3-dimensional work honoring someone in our life; I chose my mom.

My work consisted of reclaimed board fashioned in to a "coffin" and lined with velvet. Behind glass were a Polaroid picture of my mother, the hand written note, and a small painting of a young child asleep in a coffin with his dead parents on either side.

In the Polaroid, I had taken a funny shot of my mom as she was goofing around. The clock on the wall behind her read 10:17. At that moment we were happy, we were laughing, and we were alive.

5 Hours Later, Her Father Would Die, the title read.

I have yet to experience a death even remotely close to this. My tears at funerals have only been for the loss of others as I sympathize with them. I've always been a bit nervous not knowing how I would handle death.

Through her actions, my mom has shown me that she can face death. She is OK to be without those who have passed. My mom is loving, spiritual, vibrant. She is a hospice volunteer. She shows me her strength, and shows me that I can have it as well.

In remembering this piece the other day, I was a bit embarrassed to admit that I had dismantled it. My mom did not want to display it and I felt uncomfortable holding on to it. A huge part of art for me is the tangible representation of my thoughts that the piece possesses. Thinking back, I was somewhat unsettled that the record of this thought was now missing. But I just needed a simple dialogue to help center my thoughts again.

Someone dear to my life said to me, "Maybe it served it's purpose."

Yes it did; and I can live with that.

I remember the final words of the handwritten note:

"She's not sleeping with her father . . . I won't either."