Chris bought this sculpture for me from a local art gallery but died a few days before my birthday. Knowing how ill she was, she made a point of giving it to me straight away. “It’s my last gift,” she said. “I wanted to make it a good one.”
About 50cm high, the figure emerges from a rough-hewn base and, headless and armless, ends with a voluptuous tilt of the exposed neck and a hint of angelic wings.
“It’s beautiful,” I said. “I love it. Thank you.”
Chris quickly became gravely ill and I put the sculpture aside. When she died, I hung the mortbrod in the window by the front door concealing the sculpture from view. One year later, actually on my next birthday, I took the mortbrod down and rediscovered the sculpture.
When I looked at her carefully and ran my fingers over her smooth contours, she seemed to represent the many aspects of the feminine: sacred, sensuous, sexual, earthy, powerful – so much of what Chris had shared with me.
A week later, my friend Lycia facilitated a constellation for me at Folly Cottage to help me explore the question: “Who am I becoming?” We used artifacts from around the house to stand for various elements including the broken pieces of Sassy Bear to represent Chris and the sculpture to represent the feminine.
I learned a lot, much of it ineffable. But two things I can say with confidence: first, Chris has moved on and I have to let her go. That’s not to forget her or to stop loving her but to accept, deep in my bones, that she has truly gone. Second, and profoundly connected with this realisation, is that I yearn to re-connect with the feminine, both symbolically in terms of expressing my own creativity and literally in terms of conversation, close friendship, and physical intimacy. The constellation showed me that I can love Chris still and love again.
Then I realised that, wise and generous to the end, that was the real significance of her parting gift. She knew it would take time, but she was both signalling her understanding that I would have to let her go and giving me her blessing to live a full and satisfying life.
Things can happen very quickly after a constellation.
My heart is opening to the possibility of love.
Wherever Chris is, I think she’s smiling.