I am currently finishing a tapestry titled "Death Rides a Pale Horse", which for the last couple of weeks has had a disturbing resonance with my real world. For one reason or another death has been a regular topic in our family and while this in itself is not a bad thing it has come rather more close to home than usual.
An uncle died of throat cancer after months of debilitating discomfort. Then, thankfully, an artist friend has survived dangerous, major surgery. The disappearance of the Malaysia plane has also left its mark on everyone's hearts and imaginations.
More shocking and upsetting to my immediate circle though, is the death in a car accident of three family friends, a mother and her two varsity-going daughters. While I did not know these people well the immediacy of this vanishing act has floored me and completely shattered the lives of the people close to them.
Conceptually I think we all go through the exercise of imaging what life would be like if a nearest and dearest died, the shock, the emotional trauma. We either imagine ourselves falling apart or bravely soldiering on. I have realised, however, that no matter how accurately we try to recreate this possibility we never come close to imagining the real extent of the emotional wrecked-ness of it.
I realise now that while this tapestry began as an interesting conceptual look into death, a general human condition ripe for analyse and contemplation, it has become more of a tribute to real breathing loves lost, and the people left behind to pick up the pieces. It is also a reminder to me to appreciate every moment I can with the people important to me.