I have a children’s colouring book full of unicorns and faeries. It is good to keep magic and childhood alive.
My mother is an elder, that is she is well into her eighties now. She has been ill for some time on and off with low immunity and has had treatment. The trouble is there is a lot of confusion within my family about what is wrong with her. I used to take her to all her hospital appointments but then suddenly an old rift was healed within the family and other members then began taking her to and fro. I was relieved to have more time to myself but in the meantime I sort of fell out of the loop and missed some information. The last I knew, I was in a consulting room with mum and she was being told by the consultant that they had not found cancer. We were relieved and went home and celebrated. But at a later appointment when someone else in the family took her she suddenly seemed to have a form of cancer.
Death, you are lurking and I am sad. I know that an eld person has to die, it is their right to die and part of the natural cycle of life and yet women in my mum’s family are usually very long-lived so I am feeling vulnerable and cheated. There is a huge gulf between sitting in a chair and hearing “You do not have cancer” and sitting here now and being told “She has this cancer so that’s why XYZ is happening.”
I am beginning to wish that I did not sink down in a heap when there was somebody else nearby to take over all the leg work I had been doing for so long. If only I’d had the energy to keep going I would have felt more in control now even if the truth was that “my mum has cancer.” Maybe I just feel better when I am the one steering the chariot.
In this picture I am my young self of about 12. It is a self portrait from my imagination, as I remember myself. That was a dark time too because that’s when both my grandmothers died.
I quite like the spareness of my aparition of death. I am thinking of the Death card in the tarot and how a simple cloaked figure with no further symbolism might be enough to convey the archetype of endings, loss, non-being, and new begininnings. No skull is needed to show the end of physical life. The lack of face is enough as a lost person’s face seems to fade with each passing day without its living smile.