Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Drawn from Life

Dorothy, my mother in law, had a major stroke on Thursday and is in hospice.  Mr. D and I are taking turns with her so she's not alone.  Sometimes I watch her hand explore the texture of her satin pajamas or the cotton sheet, other times I'm holding on to her hand for dear life. Not sure who's.

I'm drawing her.... Drawn from life..................................................

I used to worry that people would think it's macabre to draw someone dying. I don't anymore.
Drawing is one good way of truly seeing Dorothy and honoring her struggle.

Drawing from life means observing who and what is in front of me. It's a means to stay fully present, rather than getting lost in a story about what Dorothy might be experiencing. I can't do anything to take away her dying,  but I can be her witness.

A drawing can be testimony. (Some interesting definitions of testimony that you might not know.)


Sherrie Y said...

Oh, Patrick... I have long believed in the artist as witness and the work as testament. Thinking of you in your gentle and respectful vigil.

Beatriz Cunha said...

Witnessing the suffering of a dear one is never easy, it touches us deeply.
Your beautiful drawing is a testimony of that.

Barbara R. said...

Perhaps one vast part of the gift given, watching a loved one die, is letting go of story. Your drawing is beautiful, Patrick.

Patrick Gracewood said...

Barbara, Thank you for your thoughts.

"The heart has its reasons of which reason knows naught." Blaise Pascal
Which I take to mean our minds want to think/understand in order not to feel.
Caring for Dorothy for the past three years was an ongoing lesson in feeling for me. Still is...