paper collage of computer printed baby picture and torn portrait photo with scanned, enlarged newspaper obituary
14 x 20 in.
I was born into loss. My mother died at 36 while giving birth to me and my sororal twin. I felt her absence deeply, knowing something essential was missing from my life. My father remarried, three more children arrived, and those of us born of my mother learned quickly that she was a taboo subject. My parents eventually severed contact with her relatives, compounding my grief and driving it inward. This loss remained ever present, and over the years I worked to heal it by renewing contact with my mother’s family, working with them on a family history, and deepening my spirituality.
My stepmother always encouraged my art, and when she died in 2013, I felt tremendous release from much family trauma and sensed her presence guiding me to free myself artistically, too. In January 2019, my father died – the first of 15 deaths in 17 months (including my husband’s father and many friends before their time). Death became our everyday work, as we attended 13 funerals (and planned or participated in 8 of those). In the wake of these relentless partings, art has given me a way to reckon with loss and prepare for the new beginnings I know will come in time.
© Anne Nordhaus-Bike