Wednesday 1 April 2015

One breath at a time

Those of you who don't know me personally or who aren't connected to me via social media might be wondering why I haven't written lately, why my website is unattended, my classes cancelled and, in general, why I'm suddenly absent from the art scene - particularly given I ended my previous blog entry on such an optimistic note. I've been debating whether or not to share what's been happening in my life lately - it's very personal and not what you'd expect in a blog about life as an artist. However, given art-making is a deeply personal occupation, it goes without saying that the creative process is impacted by what goes on in the art maker's life. And so I've decided to tell you about it.

It turns out that just when I was hoping, in fact expecting, that things would take a turn for the better after a challenging year, things got exponentially worse: my husband quite suddenly and unexpectedly died. The event that took his life - a massive stroke - was shocking to all who knew him, no one moreso than me. The ensuing weeks have been a blur, from frightful days and nights in the hospital, home to the comings and goings of friends and family, to the planning of his memorial service, the memorial day itself and its beautiful/terrible/healing events, the gradual dispersing of houseguests, and now simply a quiet time to mourn with the gentle support of the many kind souls who keep checking in to make sure I'm OK, and maybe to go for a walk or share a meal or drink a cup of tea or glass of wine with me.

Right now I live in a fog of grief that clears a little when people call or visit. My days are structured by the necessities of life, particularly those of Lily, the not-quite-one-year-old spaniel pup, and my trio of cats who, while less demanding, have definite feeding times that they always make sure I'm aware of. I'm not able to do much in my studio, I have cancelled my classes till fall, and for now I simply work on getting through each day, one breath at a time, placing one foot in front of the other. I walk with Lily, and walk, and walk, and am thankful for the arrival of spring. In the grand, sad scheme of things, I find it's good to have small things to be thankful for. I'm glad, as always at this time of year, to hear wrens singing in the forest, and to see trilliums blooming among last year's fallen leaves. I looked up one morning and smiled at the sight of a small flock of trumpeter swans winging their way north, calling softly to one another as they flew. Life does go on.

One day, not long after my husband died, a creative friend mentioned to me that he wondered how this tragic, life-altering event would affect my art - perhaps through my choice of colours or subject or composition or ...? I responded by saying that for the time being it had only served to stem my creative flow. Since then a few others have asked if I've started any new projects, but I only shake my head. Not yet. But I know art-making will become my lifeline, and I have no doubt I must be changed in some fundamental way and I find myself wondering if that change will be evident in what I create. Only time will tell. For now, I await the moment when my hand is compelled once again to put pencil to paper.

As I left the hospital after my husband breathed his last, my only clear recollection of that moment is that I heard a raven calling from the treetops.

1 comment:

  1. We love you. We support you. We want you to take all the time you need. I look at my Deborah Strong pieces of colorful joy each day and know you have a gift. The gift is taking time off. It is still there. My "Blue Horse" that I bought so impulsively gives me tremendous joy. Each time I stand in front of it, in different light, I see something else I love about it. You are a wonderful, dear soul. Take care and we will ALL be here when you are ready.