I’ve produced a series of artworks sharing some of what I learnt about the Cycle of Life whilst my dad was dying.
My dad wisely didn’t stop living just because the doctors told him that he was terminally ill.
Like many doctors, I had thought I was something of an expert at dying. But then I saw how very much more my dad knew about living.
He taught me how families can work together on dying as part of the cycle of life.
I learnt that dying can be a living, loving, giving, sharing experience.
For my dad, active living was always a priority. I learnt so much from him about this!
Since high quality living included keeping on being my dad, it also included letting me grieve. Helping me grieve for him, with him.
All that preparation, all that pre-grieving, meant I could help my dad keep on living up until his last breath.
When my dad was dying, my priority was to help him die well. As well as he had lived. As that happened, I saw it underlined how dying is indeed a key part of the Cycle of Life.
My art works started with multimedia presentations at the Showroom gallery. My dad was a keen skier, and at the Showroom I presented his last Black Run; his Deathbed Skiing; his Last Breath; and how everything came Full Circle as I washed my dad’s dead body.
I built on the Showroom presentations for some some digital collages I submitted to the Praxis Forum for a year long peer mentoring programme. These include: Deathbed Skiing, which uses Islamic perspective; Heartbeart, with an acorn-heart splitting open as my dad’s breathing stops; and Ultimate Living, as the germinated acorn develops into a fruit forest.
I’m going to expand my initial write-ups of my Showroom multimedia Cycle of Life presentations into videos.