Sunday, September 08, 2013

Studio Practice with Grieving

Four weeks ago today, my father broached the idea of hospice. After six weeks of hospitalization (in the latest round), major neurosurgery, and rehabilitation therapy with poor pain control on top of three time per week dialysis, he just wanted to stop. I suddenly shifted from searching for a skilled nursing facility to trying to get him back to his home on short notice. Amongst the scramble to find a hospice agency, to get full time care set up at home with staff and equipment, to get him transferred safely amongst the many discharge blunders, my studio time evaporated.

Hardly a week after he first persistently pursued the subject of being finished with this life, he was gone. Once the restraint on medication was lifted, the release of pain let the exhaustion overtake him and he mostly slept for those last four days, with only a couple of arousals to visit with his grandsons. After his quick passing, the overly full days were achingly empty. Understanding and supporting his decision didn't ease the grief. Dealing with the paperwork and property didn't sooth the pain. The solace of the studio beckoned, but I couldn't really get any energy to actually do anything more than wander around.

Deadlines loomed, so eventually I started small. I sat at my metal clay bench with an audiobook and methodically cut and rolled and flattened tiny leaves. Then I branched out for a few flowers. Finally I attempted something new: owls and a hummer and a fairy wren for a commission piece. Not my finest work, but a start. Last week was better. Less crying, more working. Pieces shipped out to a show. Work from a new caster tested. The article in process actually reread. And finally, I determined to actually make something start to finish...