I first met Steve Shaw after being invited to arrange and lead his mother’s funeral ceremony. She had suffered Dementia for several years.
Not too long into our conversation about her, it became clear to me that Steve had been mourning the loss of his mother for quite some time. Firstly, he was grieving because she was no longer a physical presence in his life. But there was the gradual loss of his mother that he had experienced for quite some time before she died, because of her Dementia. It became clear that the ceremony had to address both the loss of his mother in the physical sense and the loss of his mother he had experienced during her illness.
“I feel like I’d forgotten the person that she was,” commented Steve.
During her illness, Steve and his father Frank, had to deal with the very difficult concept of losing the person they loved and admired, gradually and over a period. They looked on helplessly, as she changed from being an astute and creative woman, into someone who was largely apathetic and uninterested. She was so understanding and compassionate throughout life, but then lost all degree of empathy and ability to recall and remember or fully understand her environment. It was a heart-breaking experience.
Using imagery and by celebrating the person she was for much of her life and refusing to define her by her illness, the ceremony helped Steve remember the mother he loved and cherished as a child and through most of his adulthood.
“I regained the memory of my mother whom I’d lost,” he remarked.
Steve is a local potter, musician and artist. He uses his art to communicate personal ideas and feelings. Naturally, Steve wished to celebrate the prospect of ‘getting his mum back,’ and decided to communicate his own sense of loss and rejoicing, which inspired a stunning collection of ink drawings called, ‘Life is a Long Song.’ They are dedicated to the memory of his mother. They really are something quite special.
The drawings will be on display at CO-OP Funeralcare in Stone, Staffordshire. They will be unveiled on Saturday 30th March as a way of marking Mothering Sunday. The inks will be available for all to see for a limited period of time after that too.
A glass of bubbly and a small gift for mum awaits you at the unveiling.