Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Remembrance Necklace

This beautiful, three-piece silver necklace by Trudie Davies is one of my favorite pieces of Remembrance Jewelry. I love the way the rings stack upon one another to create a unified ring, but also open up to reveal three unique customized inscriptions. A name, a date, a heart ... almost says it all.

Friday, November 6, 2009

How To Think About Death

We do everything we can to avoid thinking about the inevitable. But eventually Death grabs us all. Will it be a slap in the face? A caress? Or a polite handshake for a life well lived? I ponder these questions constantly, and wish that I could be in London this month to attend a course called "How To Think About Death", led by writer and philosopher Mark Vernon on October 19th.

Ironically, this course is being offered by The School of Life. The first class has already filled up, so I have the feeling this will be a very popular one, and perhaps offered again. Here's the course description:

'It's not that I'm afraid to die. I just don't want to be there when it happens.' So opined Woody Allen, capturing something of our ambivalence about the one thing about which we can all be absolutely and irrefutably certain: we will die. On the one hand, it is almost commonplace to say that suffering is what we fear, not annihilation. But on the other, anyone who has experience the death of a loved one, or faced death themselves, will know that it is no trivial incident. If our inhibitions in discussing death and the lack of preparation with which most of us first experience grief are anything to go by, we could probably describe ours as a death-denying culture. In this short, sharp lesson about the inevitable we’ll consider what philosophers and theologians, film-makers and poets have usefully had to say about death, and ask if there is really such a thing as a good death and if so how we can prepare ourselves appropriately."

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Forget Me Not

Sometimes the best way to remember someone is through an object that's veiled, less literal. It's sort of like "undercover mourning." Having an item that's specifically made to help remember someone, while also being very pretty to look at, can help us avoid feeling like we are living in a shrine.

Miniature Rhino's precious needlework falls into this category. I love her work, in fact I bought a few of her constellation pieces last year. This unbleached muslim needlepoint, called Book of Hours, was part of an exhibit called Forget Me Not at Gallery Hanahou in New York City. Here's the description of the piece:

Inspired by the idea of a forget me not, a physical object that recalls a person, I made this detailed piece about remembrance. The imagery: diamond, bee, honeycomb, and knotted bow, directly relate to a quote from the book Metaphors of Memory: A history of ideas about the mind by D. Draaism. The quote below is typed on a crème paper and adhered to the reverse of the piece with photo corners....

"In books of hours miniaturists drew jewels, coins, flowers and beehives. Valuables collected like nectar from flowers to be stored in the honeycombs of our memory."
-D. Draaisma

Monday, November 2, 2009

All Souls Day

My great-grandmother, mother and grandmother. I love you!

Today I will be honoring those I've lost, but feel are with me still.

For my mother, I'll be picking up a Princess Cake and See's Candies. I'm also going to the stationery store, one of her favorite places. I will also make a donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in her memory. For all of my ancestors, I'll be looking at pictures, remembering them, and imagining what they'd say if they were here with me. Unlike Dia de los Muertos, which is a communal celebration, this one will be private, just between me and my loved ones. I wish more cultures celebrated the departed the way Dia de los Muertos does - in my wildest dreams I'd be thrilled to see this happen one day. For now, it's me, my mothers and fathers, and a feast.