I decided yesterday I’d do a journal about my angel babies, and pour out all the feelings onto paper. I knew once I started I would be a bit teary and obsessive – and warned Tony. Turns out I am obsessive but not teary. But my god am I dredging up old memories and hurts, and dealing with them.
Here’s an example of something I had tucked away but never let go of … Relatively early in our infertility journey my then-husband started showing the first signs of depression. My Mother-in-law, who I had a mixed relationship with, said “If you’d just have a baby, he’d feel better”. Well, f*ck me, why hadn’t I thought of that?
I’m being consistent about how the pages look because that makes me happy, and ensuring the bulk of the writing is unreadable because it’s so personal – but also contains other people’s personal information. Infertility isn’t a journey you take on your own, and impacts on all aspects of your life. I’ll be writing about love, sex, affairs, needles, medicine, deaths, depression, family, friends, betrayals … this is a ‘warts and all’ journey. I’m not sure it will end up being in chronological order because I suspect old memories will come back as I write. Thanks for being part of this healing journey with me.
Every year, as Mum’s birthday on June 30 approaches, I sleep badly and have vivid dreams. Mum died in 2012; we let her go with love in our hearts, knowing she was very ready to die. Yet my brain persists in this hyper-awareness every year. As in previous years, working in my art journal helps. Art really does have the power to heal people.
This photo was taken in 2011, her last Christmas, with her grandson Rowan. I have no idea now what they were talking about, but I can remember it being quite animated! I have put a heart over her face because sometimes I can’t bring her face to my mind, which is such a scary feeling. Mum may be gone, but love remains. The good memories are wrapped firmly round me heart.
I have been dreaming a lot lately; usually a sign my mind is very busy, which would be a fair comment. I’ve started a new series of paintings, after going back through old material form my years at The Learning Connexion and doing some fresh research into the artists we studied and whose work spoke to me. I re-read some comments from my tutor, Peter Adsett, and thought about how they apply to my work now.
Once I started painting I found I’d gone right back to being fascinated by the edges of the canvas, and that my memories of the old Patea Freezing Works buildings – which I have painted before – have reappeared. I think those shapes are strongly ingrained in my mind, and appear in my dreams and when I am painting without thinking too hard about it. The first one hardly referenced the buildings, but the shapes get stronger as my hand keeps working.
Here are the three works I have done so far – one may need warming up a bit yet, but I am watching it for a day or two. The white is not as stark as it appears, I kept getting glare on fresh paint from the lower afternoon sun.