The Call of Death
You may possibly be wondering about the title and the somewhat strange picture? This is a picture drawn by an artist called Kathe Köllwitz. I saw this in a museum in Berlin on one of my many visits there and it struck me as quite thought provoking. I have actually had a copy of the print of it on the boat for many years but have been banned from displaying it for fear of disturbing guests.
The name of the picture is The Call of Death. The reason for this coming to my mind is that Wednesday this week, 9th July, sees the first anniversary of the passing of my mother. The loss of a parent is a very painful experience and difficult to describe. As I said in her Eulogy at the funeral, we have a very rich and colourful language that is full of many verbs and adjectives but none of these can truly describe the loss we feel. However after one year I’m now in a position to know that time is a great healer. It’s a bit like having a very deep and severe cut where, at first there is a heavy outpouring of blood (grief) then as time goes by the pain eases and it starts to heal but as it heals there is still a scar remaining.
As time passes you can still remember the initial pain of the cut as you have the scar to remind you of it but you just get used to living with the scar.
The relevance of The Call of Death picture is that as in the picture, I see my mother in the same position in that as she was suffering and not getting better she glances around, perhaps with expectancy, acceptance and maybe welcome relief that death will bring escape from pain and finally being comforted by death tapping her on the shoulder to say that the time has come. I see that in this particular picture unlike another Köllwitz picture called Death Seizes a Woman, the person is looking around with a look of resignation and not horror or sadness.
As we get older time seems to go quicker and quicker and the 12 months since she passed on is no exception. It still feels like yesterday and I can recall everything around the event as clear as day. I had heard people say in the past as they were commenting on the loss of loved ones that they think about them everyday. I always thought this was something of an exaggeration but now I do understand what they mean and can honestly say that NEVER does a single day pass without her being in my thoughts.
Also the passage from the book ‘Where Angels Fear to Tread sums this up:
For the dead, who seem to take away so much, really take with them nothing that is ours. The passion they have aroused lives after them, easy to transmute or to transfer, but well nigh impossible to destroy.
It does also make you realise that we are but visitors to this planet and are here for not a particularly long time so just reinforces the point I always make that if you wake up in the morning breathing, CONGRATULATIONS, you have another day so don’t waste it.
So, on a brighter note and speaking around waking in the morning, this is a picture of the sunrise that greeted me this morning as I popped my head up on deck. This shows the beauty of this planet we live on and we should enjoy life to the full and always strive for the things we would like.
Have a great week, month, year………life. CARPE DIEM.