Can you grieve for someone who hasn’t died?
In this piece I explored the experience of coming to terms with parental illness. I created a perpetual concertina artists’ book to convey the cyclical nature of a non-curable illness, how there will be days when it seems you’re back to square one.
The ‘lost’ side deals with the confusion surrounding diagnosis and the loss of someone who is still alive, still physically present but forever changed.
The ‘found’ side looks tentatively at recovery, sowing hope and acceptance.
The piece features haiku throughout to take a very personal experience and abstract it enough so that the viewer can form their own interpretation.
The last spread poses the question “can you grieve for someone who’s still alive?” This is the side of mental ill health which is never discussed, the part which accepts and understands some changes will be permanent. Sometimes there is no treatment, no cure. Sometimes learning to live with and manage an illness is the only option. It’s okay to feel lost. It’s okay to mourn for the person you once knew.
This piece was a turning point for my practice and I have continued to create a body of work with the same question in mind.