Friday 23 October 2009

Preparation Preparation Preparation

I have been away for the last few days, and am back in the studio with a mountain of Things To Do. Before I can get to the exhibition preparation, it seems there is a huge amount of clutter to clear away on my desk.

I am doing this exhibition about the process of death of one man. One human, one person, just the one. It is an attempt to make some progress for my mind, my body and my soul to come to some terms with it. I have had one experience. I received an email from a lady who had lost two husbands to cancer, and she wrote with a simplicity and faith that made me feel she should be heard. There are so many like her, who have losses to deal with, and no exhibition to help her along her path.

Last night my 19 Year Old Daughter, doing her training as a nurse, laid out her first body. A 90 year old lady died on her ward, and Daughter was asked to wash and dress her. Daughter was taken with how small and frail the lady was. It was like washing and dressing a six year old, she said. The old lady's family had been with her and so she was not alone but Daughter felt the enormity of being the last person to care for this old lady, on this earth, though she had not known her. How is it, said Daughter, that her granddaughter was in the room and the same age as Daughter, and yet she, a stranger (comparitably) should do such an important final act of respect and love, and wash the Grandmother's body and put on her best nightie. How is it, that after 90 years of life, Daughter should be the one to do this final ritual for her. Daughter was moved by the passing of a life, someone who had loved, had children, had grandchildren, had a place on this earth and now it was all over. And Daughter was the last person to do anything for her.

I would like to expand the exhibition and make A Graceful Death about your story too. Come and write it down at the exhibition in the Graceful Death books provided. The exhibition is travelling and with each place it shows, there will be more stories and experiences to add to it.

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