|Under Western Skies / 20" x 20"|
Far away from Saskatoon, I worked in my Montreal studio painting the landscape of my childhood, my mother's home, my grandmother's home, my great-grandmother's home. Tears flowed as I realized she was returning to this landscape.
|Four generations - My mom, grandma, great grandma and me|
|Beckoning Landscape / 48" x 48"|
My brother called and said it was time to come to Saskatoon. To sit by your mother's side and watch her die is a humbling experience indeed. My mother is my source and sustenance. I have never known life on this planet without her. It was a slow and often agonizing process which allowed for great spans of time to slip by unnoticed. Our whole family fell into the simple rhythms of night turning to day and back to night again. The moon waxed outside her hospital window and I knew that she would not be alive by the next full moon. There she was now, alive and breathing and holding my hand but she was slipping away into the next realm, perhaps with one foot already there. It felt like a privilege to escort her to this threshold as she had once ushered me across the threshold into life. There is a poetic and spiritual completion to this birth and death cycle between a mother and daughter.
|Mom and me in the Saskatchewan bush|
She was often conscious but unable to speak. We could look into her eyes and talk to her and occasionally she would respond. Sometimes a woman with a guitar would come by and sing songs to her. It was a beautiful space for her to die in. A huge window that let in the natural light which she loved so much, there were no screens or TVs, no florescent lights, lots of chairs for visitors and family. There was quiet and calm, it was peaceful. We often played music for her. The nurses on duty were the angels that nurses usually are and provided the best possible comfort for my mother's dying body. Her minister came and prayed with us around her providing the best possible comfort for her departing soul. He too, was kind and gentle. In spite of her dementia you could feel her soul was still in the room with us but reaching for a place that only the dying can know.
|Amy Louise Friesen 1931 - 2018|
This was the first painting that emerged after her passing. It was a celebration of her life as well as her death. She was a huge fan of my painting and I am not sure if she ever understood how great an influence she was to my work and life.
|All Things Must Pass / 40" x 30"|
When I returned to the studio I painted with my mom in my heart and though I had meant to paint a portrait of her I ended up painting the vast and open prairie from which she came. She loved that big blue prairie sky. My brother Sean wrote about her returning home to that blue sky.
|The Thrum of Prairie Grass / 48" x 36"|
|Prairie Blue / 30" x 60"|