Sunday, May 17, 2009
Work and Grief
This winter, our family lost a wonderful boy, my 19 year old nephew Cory. He got sick while at art school in NH, and we were with him for 3 days in the hospital, where he tried to fight a cold that had turned into pneumonia... but in the end, we had to say goodbye to this bouncy, enthusiastic, artistic, loving boy. I felt like I'd lost my son. Cory had lived with my family in Maine for a summer while he went to MECA's summer program for art students. We fixed up a bedroom for the boys, and he and Owen finally figured out how to take the bunk beds apart in one room and assemble them in their room -- with only a few screws left over! I drove over the bridge to Portland once or twice a day with him, listening to rap or country, talking or laughing about his classes or some wild tale he told. After that summer, he would always call me at least once a week to tell me a funny story and make me laugh. He'd always ask, "You didn't take the bunkbeds apart, did you?" (As if I could!)
I couldn't do calligraphy for quite a while after his death. I had a backlog of projects, but I just couldn't begin. I would try to plan or write or draw, and instead, I would drift away again. When I eventually started working last month, I made mistakes on all 3 jobs I lettered. My head wasn't "in the game," I guess. A few weeks ago I lettered bookplates for the art books my parents are giving New Hampshire Institute of Art in Cory's name, and sent them (with a huge care package for his friends) to the school. This seems to have healed me to some extent, because I am finally able to work again, and the creative ideas are starting to flow.
When the phone rings these days, I'm getting used to the idea that it's not Cory with another crazy story for me about hunting, his friends, or something he did at college. And I know this summer, the house will be much quieter than it was 2 years ago, but... Cory -- the bunk beds are still set up.