My name is Deborah Alexander and I want to make a difference in the lives of people I care about especially in times of great loss. I lose sight of this at times because talking about death is not easy. I was brought back to this important way of being by my niece and nephew recently.
It was the moment on the edge of the bed with the two of them staring into a closet after the death of their father, my brother. Without hesitation they knew the ONE shirt that held the most warmth and comfort for them.
We made pillows. They hold and hug, bash and snuggle with the pillows. They move them around the house and even forget about them for a couple of days. They can talk and think about their dad a little easier now because of the convergent interaction of their brains and hearts and those who love them as they grieve. They are building a new structure to live in.
I learned from them that it hurts to be where we have not been before or been infrequently, in experiencing death. That grief works best as a “cooperative event” unfolding together with those who care.
~ from my grandfather’s Pendleton wool bathrobe I made pillows
~ from my grandmother’s needlework I made pillows
~ from my father’s paint stained flannel shirts I made pillows
~ from my brother’s Rugby shirts I made pillows
All these articles have been transformed into living memorials that can start a conversation. These pillows keep the stories close to us. From the research of D.W. Winnicott, they become transitional objects helping us navigate a new world without a loved one whether from death or prolonged absence.
This is the gift of without-end in finding a better way to be present as life goes on. This is my purpose to bring you a tool for caring. In the days ahead may you feel peace and be inspired to be with those experiencing loss.
Words of wisdom and comfort from the ages…….
They whom we love and lose are no longer where they were before. They are now wherever we are. ~St. John Chrysostom
Death is not extinguishing the light- it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come. ~Tagore