Have you ever wondered what mark you would leave on this earth?
What sort of a person do you want to be remembered as? Maybe to you, it doesn’t really matter.
On the weekend I was running a Discover YarnBombing workshop followed by a Creative-noon event, a face to face meeting for the creatives who connect in the Encounter with Creativity Facebook group. While I can crochet all the normal things, my mind tends to go different places and being a textile artist, I chose a couple of my favourite works to take along and share.
As I talked about them, I realized I had forgotten the power of our creative work to touch others. Often for me, it is an emptying of my soul, a chance to share a message or emotion. Once that is done, the message is delivered, and I can move on.
One work very dear to my heart is ‘Kathleen – Take me Home’.
It’s a piece I created back in 2016 for an exhibition that was held at The Campbelltown Art Centre. It is one of my most personal works as it shares my Aunt’s journey with Alzheimer’s and Vascular Dementia. These insidious diseases strip away the pieces of an individual bit by bit, as over time the neural pathways change. Aunty Kath’s memories faded like old photographs until eventually the pictures dimmed and were lost. My Aunt was single, and she spent all her adult life living with my parents, we were her family. There were no children, no husband and so when she finally passed away, I felt like she had just vanished. All that was left were my memories that in time too would disappear when it came for me to leave this earth.
And so, I created ‘Kathleen – Take me Home’.
It was a work of blood, sweat and tears, it challenged not only my crochet skills but also my ability to create a message that not only I understood. For me, it is a work that symbolizes that Kathleen Jessie Gordon was here. She left a mark, however subtle it was. She didn’t chase any grandiose dreams; she was just here, and I wanted people to know that.
Aunty Kath sometimes created challenges and didn’t always know how to live with a household of four children. However, she gave us the gifts of inclusion and patience as we struggled to live with the dynamic of an extra family member. That patience and inclusion were good tools. Especially when she was in her later years and her brain held hostage by Alzheimer’s, when she would look at us and ask, ‘take me home?’.
I want to ask you, what mark will you leave, what will you be known for?
You don’t need incredible talents to leave a mark, just be the authentic you! Love others, care for the earth, laugh, live joyfully, chase your dreams and believe me your mark will be left.
Remember life is no dress rehearsal, this is the real deal, so go out grab life firmly between both hands, and live a life you love – make your mark.
If this story touches your heart, you might also be interested in reading about Creative Women Rebecca Neill and her journey with her mum and dementia.