I’ve never posted much in the way of my personal life. This is where I talk about art related activities. But in order to continue posting about my art, I feel I need to write a bit about what has been happening in my private life before I continue on; ignoring it is to leave a gap unexplained about where I currently am with my art practice.
In early March this year, my mum suffered a serious stroke. My 89 year old dad has Alzheimer’s, and also during this time, it became apparent that long term care for him was now inevitable. Six weeks after the stroke, on Easter Monday, Mum passed away. She was 85 years old.
Two days – two days after my mother died, my husband was informed by his employer, with no warning, that he was laid off, effectively immediately. I was staying with my dad, as he could not be on his own. Dave called me when he got home, to tell me the bad news.
You know the saying, “I felt the floor drop out from under me?” Well, I literally bottomed out. Within a few days, I had an art opening to attend. I did it, but I honestly don’t remember a whole lot about it.
A couple of weeks later, I felt like working on something. Making art does help to centre me and I hoped it would be therapeutic. I had been drawing with graphite since the New Year but now I couldn’t concentrate well enough to do it, and there were emotional triggers happening.
It was early May by then and Dave was using his time to plant the vegetable garden. I wandered into the garage and looked at the scrap wood laying around. I pulled out the belt sander, dusted it off and mounted it upside down on a Workmate bench. I have a chop saw in the basement, and a drill press my dad gave me, when my parents moved from the farm. So I shifted gears and began to make primitive little things I called “my gubbins.” Yeah, my dad gave me his honkin big floor drill press – and I use it to make holes in these little pieces of wood
For the month of May, I made my gubbins. I know the problem solving involved helped to keep me mentally engaged. Dave looked for work and continued on with the garden. Of course, most days aren’t smooth sailing when the proverbial shit hits the fan. Some days just sucked. Okay, many days just sucked. I quickly learned you have to know when to be kind to yourself once you realize the day is going to suck, to accept it and roll with it. I would often pack it in and go for walks along the beach – or catch up on much needed sleep.
In June, I got a part time job. It was with a very well-known, large Ontario company. Unfortunately, by mid-July, I had sustained work place injuries, I had tendonitis in both elbows and wrists, and had torn muscle in my arms. Two weeks after the injuries, I began to experience bullying at work. Luckily, I was approved for 12 weeks of physiotherapy through WSIB. Needless to say, I no longer work there. I’ve unfortunately, still got nerve damage in my left arm as a souvenir. I was unable to work on any art, until late August. That’s all I want to say about this experience because it was so hopelessly broken, in so many ways, it’s not even worth thinking about.
Dad is in a long term care facility. We were very fortunate that he was offered a place where he is. The staff is awesome and the building is cheerful, bright and new. Dave is still not working, so we visit Dad every week and do our errands on the way home. Still, along with grieving for Mum, there’s also a sense of grieving for Dad, as his memory fails him more and more.
When we visit, we bring wild bird seed and drive to a nearby conservation area where we feed the ducks and geese. He loves this and it’s become a bit of a ritual. He had ducks and geese on the farm.
So Dave is still not working. This is very scary. I’m still making my gubbins and have begun to make collages on pieces of file folders, which I see as paper versions of the gubbins. From December 2-18, I will be participating in a Christmas Show and art sale at the ARTS Project, in downtown London, ON.
Our son and daughter are doing very well in school and have part time jobs that they enjoy. The garden was great, this year. So not all is hideous in my world. I just wish something would break on the job front, though…