Monday, June 21, 2010


I went to the service for my friend Margaret's mother, Katie. She died on June 10th. I did not know her well, as she had developed Alzheimer's and had it when I met her. Bill, Margaret's husband, made the introductory welcome and shared what he felt about Katie. I enjoyed listening to him because it seemed so real and so touching. He talked about how she was so warm and hospitable, about what a great cook she was and how she really enjoyed his appetite for her cooking. I am happy to have some of her old pots and dish towels that Margaret generously shared with me.

I don't deal with death well. I am not a good speaker, and don't really know how to get out what I feel inside, especially the pain and sorrow that I am experiencing for my friends or relatives. The best way for me to say what I feel is to express it in art. This is a collage that I am giving to Margaret. I hope she likes it. The stamps belonged to my dad, they were part of the things he gave me as he lay dying a few years ago. They come from Germany, the place where Katie was born. But I too have an odd kinship to Germany as that is where I was conceived, while my mother went to visit my dad, drafted into military service during the Korean Conflict, stationed in Germany.

These are some of the other items that I used in the piece. An old German book with beautiful pages and text, some of which include a character named Margaretha. The artwork of Jean Etienne Liotard is featured in one of the stamps, but I just thought it embodied Katie and all that was said about her. Some melted crayon and wax to add the transparent thinness I associate with death and then the meadow lark, a southwestern bird, that would symbolize the last place Katie lived. I'm so sorry, Margaret.

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful commemoration. Can we force this as a tradition? I would like to view mine prior to death. Is that an option?

    You have really honored the memory of Margaret's mother. I only met her once, but I'm sure this piece will bring a lot of comfort and meaning to this loss for her daughter.

    And for the record, I think you express your feelings about loss and death beautifully. Words are the least effective means in these situations.