Width: photo, various sizes
From the artist:
This photo has been taken in the summer of 2017 outside a school building in, Oberhausen, NRW, Germany I used to visit between 1976-1982. An empty, decaying school building , the past is near, fragmented memories are here with me, and yet so clear, it is the end of era. 14/15. 07. 2017 My mum just died. I arrived just in time- she waited for me- with her body looking in pain, swollen her face and arms, a cut in her throat to get her back into life, wake her up from an artificial coma...but it's obvious to me, she wants to go, her spirit already left. Three weeks in this state, with no escape- and on the day I arrived the message was there, no hope to get her anywhere- it was our choice now to let her go. With all the sorrow and all the pain yet no better present she could have made - she waited for me. It was me with my sister who received the news, making us the bearers about the truth, we all, family & friends, together, had to let her go. And then it came to say good- bye, all three children she once had born touching her arms, her face, her hair. The machines still running, but no signs of life. Spirit and body had already parted. Tears were running, over three faces, you will be gone by tomorrow, no glimpse of hope left now for you to wake ever up again. In the early morning they slowly let her go. Another last journey to the hospital, "Verabschiedungs Raum" us children and those who had been close. There she lay in the bed, the decubitus mattress still moving- up and down- I stroked her hair- "you just coloured it before you went-to make yourself pretty for us " I stroked her face, her arms, her neck- knowing her spirit had flown, but it was the body I have known- it was her body, her voice, her sound,her smell - I had to let go. No easy way, no easy task- but looking at her pictures, a woman of 69 with an old decaying body, destroyed from a difficult life & smoking. Remembering her last year of suffering- at times being tied to care home beds not able to move, with a hole in the back, in her feet- dependant on the mercy of strangers to get her denture cleaned, a mattress to ease her pain, at times not even available. With great suffering she learned how to take little steps, but her body remained crippled. No prospect of ever coming home again, a home she loved. She was very brave to endure but now she had to go and we had no other choice but to let it happen. In hindsight we were given an extra year to say good- bye and I am very grateful. A year before, almost exact to date, she was in intensive care, expected to die- almost like a wonder she reemerged alive, kept on going for another year, living through pain & fear & a few happy moments. A moment when the lift in the care home opened and she sat smiling in her wheel chair, saying I had the feeling you were coming. Hugging her granddaughter Keira who lives so many miles apart. Keira taking photos of her Oma in her wheelchair waving her hands. Moments we spent in a cafe, near where she used to live as a child, eating cake & chips...moments which are now memories. I am grateful that you gave these to us and that you waited for me. Thank you Mama.