Mourning in clay


I sculpted this pendant today, in memory of my friend. She told me once that she’d had a vision of me holding a baby of my own. I tried to sculpt that vision, the gift of hope and dreams of a good tomorrow.

It’s still raw, I’m going to paint it yet. It’s made with polymer clay, a freshwater pearl, a piece of polished shell, and three swarovski crystals in the colour of black diamonds.

I’m heartbroken, and still too angry to hear people talking about peace. I took today off and stayed home. It’s a luxury to have time to grieve, I so rarely have had the chance in my life. I feel angry and empty and hurting and deeply depressed. I’ve watched episodes of Scrubs and the first Garden of Sinners episode which was strange and sad and fitting.

I’ve found out that her funeral is next week, interstate. I’m so relieved to not have missed it. That’s happened before and it left this terrible feeling. I’m making plans to drive over. Poor Rose is packing her house alone for the move. I’ve eaten and cried and showered and written and made art. It’s all I have at the moment. She’ll never read this. She’ll never read another word of this. Everything is wrong.

In movies, death is an ending of a story arc, a finale. Here, things are unfinished, there was no warning. We don’t even know how she died yet. It’s the most terrifying feeling, this awareness that we make sense of deaths like this only in the aftermath. That we edit and write into someone’s life some kind of ending. We view all the last years differently now we know they are the last. But you can’t see it coming. It could be me, or you, or anyone we love. And as much as I want to hope she made the choices she would have made of she had known, I don’t know. None of us can truly live as if we’re going to die tomorrow, we have to have one eye on the years, to be aware we might have to live with consequences for a whole lifetime. Trapped in that place, it seems to me, we’re so vulnerable to living out lives chosen for us by other people, lives that do not fit, that we do not want, that do not make us feel alive.

My friend struggled so much to find a life of passion and meaning. I think of us out to dinner, laughing so loud the whole restaurant would turn to look, our black humour perfectly matched. We should have had more time to laugh like that again. There’s so much I still wanted to say.

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