DEATH TO DEATH
20" x 20", GRAPHITE AND POWDER PASTEL ON WHITE BRISTOL PAPER. 2019 COLLECTION.
January 29th, 2016, I found a client- a friend- who had overdosed. I had went between CPR as we waited far too long for an ambulance, and well after his pulse had grown quiet. I couldn't stand what felt like the dishonour of his head resting on the concrete as it was, so I lay my hands underneath, palms upward and held him as we waited, and waited, for someone to come make the official pronouncement of the reality we already knew.
For a whole week, my forearms ached- a constant lack of relief that piled with my heavy conscious and heaver heart. The weight that death brings reminds me of a sandbag- one placed over your shoulders and one placed into our arms. Your back curves and your knees tremor and you find yourself nose-to-floor, wondering how you might stand.
But, this is where my story reaches what we're told is a fork. In life, we may see what might be considered a lot of pain and loss and grief. Each time, we have the choice- to sit in that space and make our home with sorrow, or, to step out the door and continue our journey forward. Over time, I have learned to roll my palms out, and drop the sandbag. I have learned that I have the choice to pass over my grief- not in a way where it disappears, but in a way where I am actually handing it off and it is brought to rest.
I believe in a spirituality where a man once died the most humble death upon a cross, to later return to life, having defeated death itself. With this, the man, Jesus, gave us forever the choice to pass all our grief, all our sorrows and losses to him. I drew this piece as a self-reminder of the space that is made for us to shed our sorrow, to call an end to forever carrying sandbags. Death, to death.
In honour of "D", who's gentleness still teaches me.