It’s nearly 7am on Saturday morning and I’m two weeks into the first part (of 12) of Where Art & Grief Meet (#whereartandgriefmeet) and my month dedicated to Hec.
It’s been an interesting time for me as I try to balance the discipline of focusing on a single topic but also recognise how my attention strays to mad tangents. I am enjoying (and allowing) the meandering. What would this be if it weren’t for free association? Self imposed fascism, I suppose. And that would never be my thing.
So for the record and I’ll be getting to this in November when it’s Milo‘s month, my boy has had huge challenges with school so more time than I would’ve thought has been dedicated to helping him manage.
My child is of course my first priority and I don’t in anyway resent the time and energy it takes to manage his stuff, but also to deal with myself. Being his mother has taught me more about myself than I could’ve ever possibly imagined which is the biggest benefit a person could ever derive from something they have no other option than to do.
I can remember Dad always encouraging Hector and I to embrace what we might’ve considered mundane with nothing short of a happy heart rather than the grumbling resentment he would often observe as we were doing the dishes, walking the dog, icing hundreds of buns at our bakery. Anything. Not only does this make the humdrum palatable, it provokes a different, more present level of engagement. Both Hec and I adopted this approach and benefitted enormously as a result.
The meditations and ruminations that have arisen during my artmaking at this time have necessarily become explorations of the past with sometime pleasurable and familiar pathways explored. At another times, a realisation comes that I still don’t have all the pieces to put a matter to rest. This in turn leads me to wonder if the lesson itself is to find satisfaction in no resolution, or if the matter must reside for longer in the unresolved in-tray to be revisited later. Only time can tell.
It is apparent now that losing my brother and losing my father, the most significant males across my life’s span, has freed me from the yoke of wanting their understanding and acceptance. They are no longer elements whose mere existence would influence my choices or my reflections about same.
Although I do derive comfort from the knowledge that at some stage, when we are all beyond time, we will be reunited, the force of their influence on me is much more of a shadow than a light. And with this I don’t feel at all at sea. Rather I am buoyed by the knowledge that although they were once here as a guide I negotiate all the things independently. This was actually, always the case, but the difference is now I know it. And this is a great feeling. To factor in the judgment/opinion/perceived response of an entity outside myself, was not allowing me to truly trust in myself and feel I was living authentically. I have a better sense of that now.
Of course I remain blessed to have my mother with me and actively seek to bring to her happiness and comfort as much as I can. And there is also my son, but these relationships are different. To be explored later.
I spoke before of shadows. Some are darker than others. For added insight and flavour I’m going to ask a lifelong friend of my brother’s, an actor, to chat with me for #whereartandgriefmeetpod. It will be terrific to reminisce but also to add his story to this larger body of work. Watch this space.
The piece I did yesterday (pictured above) about Roza Eskenazi was something I could or would never have attempted years ago. From when I was the smallest baby, music of the East, particularly Smyrnaika, with its mournful, soulful expression, would provoke an inconsolable response. I don’t know why I had this intense, despairing reaction to something which always gave Dad and Hector such comfort and connection.
I have come now to love it. I wonder if that’s because it is an aural representation of beloveds I have lost or if something in me has been awakened…
All these things. All these things.