Since your love died

Chapter 1

My stepmother left us after going into coma for the second time. When the doctors assured us there was no hope, we agreed to take her off the respiratory machine. I still feel guilty. I started an artist’s book about her loss but I couldn’t finish it. Losing a loved one is being awash in the long and painful process of grieving.

I set this project aside since there were structural problems and I couldn’t face her death yet. I portray her floating in gauze as if she was still in a coma. I chose to make a collage with an old black and white image of her looking straight at the photographer. She was in her twenties, smiling. She looked so alive!

For more than a year we have been witnessed the ravages of Covid19. Like me, many families have had to make difficult choices often without being able to say goodbye to their loved ones. I know their pain, even after several years I still feel it from time to time.

What shape, vessel or space could house the deceased departure and the grief of a bereaved person? The last breath is the point of rupture so it will inform the shape while inside its form a second vessel will hold the grieving heart. For once, I am not using my photographs but two poems to express my vision of death and grief.

Gesshu Soko (1696): Jisei (death poem)

Inhale, exhale
Forward, back
Living, dying:
Arrows, let flown each to each
Meet midway and slice
The void in aimless flight —
Thus I return to the source

Edna St. Vincent Millay (1950): Ebb

I know what my heart is like
Since your love died:
It is like a hollow ledge
Holding a little pool
Left there by the tide,
A little tepid pool,
Drying inward from the edge.

What material will I use? How to represent the act of exhaling? How to include these two poems in the structure so they both come together? What texture or lettering am I going to choose? So many questions that are slowly finding their answers as I am making prototypes. 

To be continued ….