Thursday, November 15, 2012

Illustration Friday - Tree


My mother is dying. And so I have return to the family tree. She has lymphoma on her brain and after years of chemo treatment her body is tired and frail and can't take any more. It is strange and surreal because she is just the same as when I last saw her a few months ago. We joke because she doesn't seem like she's dying. We shock her siblings with our frivolity. We like to laugh but perhaps it is mild hysteria. She is the eldest of her six siblings and they all love her dearly. The youngest rides his bike here every morning on the way to work and sits on the end of her bed in his fluro biker shorts looking forlorn.Then late in the afternoon her oldest brother and his wife come for cocktail hour with laughter and idle chatter. They bring wine and cheese and home-made hummus. Our days are filled with a constant flow of visitors, more family and friends and nurses with comfort and care. My sister and I have found our place in the kitchen where we cook and bake treats for my mum. Curries and ice-cream and homemade bread. We go to the shops and buy her liquorice all-sorts, her favourite indulgence. When she's feeling calm she cuddles in bed with my dad watching tv or reading stories with my little boys. But then she gets flustered and jumps out of bed to make sure the house is in order, the garden has been watered, the washing is off the line. She is frank and honest and brave and readier than any of us for what is to come. It feels safe in the family tree - my mum, my dad, my husband and two little boys and my very best-est friend, my sister. It is a little squashed but we are close and needing closeness.We are waiting for the unknown and praying that it never comes.

11 comments:

  1. Sad story...You have to make the best of the time you have left with your Mum...sounds like a good strong family tree...my thoughts are with you all.

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  2. It's both a sad story and a happy one. How lucky that everyone lives so close and is spending time together. I bet it makes your mum happy. I hope you have lots and lots of good days with her. Beautifully written, too.

    I love this family tree illustration! Fun and joyful characters under a sparkling twilight sky. It seems to perfectly illustrate your personal story with lots of love.

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  3. I agree with Cindy both sad and happy story ! The joy of togetherness is great! my thoughts and prayers hugs goes to you and I can understand your feelings as myself going through a same phase!

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  4. Oh Claire, I read your post before really looking back at the illustration and when I did I got teary because it's so beautiful. Although I can see the sad faces there is an overall feeling of hope and happiness when I look at it. I hope that in the future when you look at your art you will also feel hope and happiness. I am so sorry for what your mother and you all are going through. I hope you can enjoy the time you have together now. Sending you all my good thoughts!

    ♥♥♥
    Rita

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  5. Claire, I'm sorry. When I hear or read things like this, I would be there to hug who needs a hug, to say a word to those who need to hear a word, but unfortunately, it is impossible. and then I can only send these written words, that very little can serve.
    a kiss and a hug ♥

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  6. Aw, Claire! I'm so incredibly sorry to hear about your Mom's condition! But sounds like she is clearly adored, and surrounded by love!! I love the symbolism in the illustration. I think it depicts the warmth, & unity of your family perfectly.
    *Hugs!*

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  7. Beautiful family tree Claire.This illustration is like a poem about life...
    I hope that everything will be ok, and I sent you a big hug...

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  8. I'm really sorry to hear about your mother. I know it's a tough time...never easy. Your work is beautiful and will always remind you of this time. I wish you only the best - sending your warm thoughts.

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  9. Hi Claire, just came to ask you how things are today?!!!

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    1. You're Albert today Roberto! Thank you for your lovely kind thoughts. It's a strange time of uncertainty and fear but each day is filled with lots of love and joy. This morning my mum decided it was Christmas and it had to right then in that moment and all of a sudden we were eating popcorn and she had presents for us all.

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  10. Claire, I just love what you've written - and how it complements your illustration. Your story is very touching ... honest, sad, loving, and human. (I admit, it brought tears.) It is a beautiful testament to a wholesome family. I wish the best for you and your loved ones during this difficult time.

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