People living deeply have no fear of death (Anaïs Nin)
Chris did not want to die but once it became clear that her cancer was incurable, she accepted dying as part of life. “There is a privilege in being able to live this…” she said, whilst in hospital. She was determined to die as she had lived, artfully. And she continued to make, draw, paint, write and converse with great energy until her last few days.
With the help of friends, I’ve been going through her journals, sketch-books, drawings and paintings to select some to display at the celebration in June. It has been both exciting and immensely poignant to see how in recent years her work became freer and freer as she claimed her place in the “wild margins” as a thinker and artist.
Chris’s desire to learn never diminished. If anything, it accelerated toward the end, branching out into poetry, cosmology, archetypal psychology, food-as-inquiry, make-up, and iconography. Faced with her imminent death, she placed no limits on her curiosity and her spirit burned all the brighter.
Thinking of her in this way, reminds me that she once gave me a raku pottery bowl for my birthday. With it, she enclosed a piece of hand-made paper with a Japanese story she had printed on it about the potter who first created the precious raku-glaze when she stepped into the kiln along with the pots and was consumed in the fire, becoming one with her creation.
Chris’s life was her greatest work of art and the example she gave us in the manner of her dying, it’s crowning glory.