Winter 2020

Hello Human Beans,

Yeesssss! It’s still just about January so I can still wish you a very belated Happy New Year.

You probably weren’t wondering why I haven’t posted in a while but I’m going to tell you anyway.

There have been a series of rather distracting events which have caused me to down brushes and focus elsewhere.

First I closed my Whitley Bay gallery because it was keeping me too far away from the easel. Then, since I was on a roll, I decided it was time to move from my silly old house and into something more manageable. I’ve always enjoyed moving and change is good for an artist…but very suddenly, finding a new home dropped down my list of priorities when life, or should I say death, put the boot in.

Taking my young, funny and hardworking brother first, it knocked the wind from me to lose another sibling and, although we didn't see each other often (how frequent this lament must be when it is too late) I have nothing but good memories of him.  I was still trying to process this loss when, also snatched away, was a gentle, charming friend who I will always remember as still supporting, from his hospice bed, the almost unsupportable Darlington FC. Rest peacefully dear boys: no more pain.

Finally, I lost my darling Mammy at the beginning of 2020.

For anyone who might have been following my artistic endeavours over the years, you may also know that alongside the painting, I’ve been closely involved in steering my mother through a long and difficult dementia. It started with care at home and eventually progressed to a residential nursing facility.

a painting of mother and daughter, 2008

Dementia starts out insidiously: losing car keys, repetition in conversation, until it picks up speed and eventually rages through the life of its victim until it has consumed all cognitive and physical function. It is devastating.

I could go on at length about the failures of the healthcare system for people with this vile disease and the way nursing homes are increasingly replacing compassion with corporate policy - but this isn’t the time or place, so I’ll just say that my Mammy (Piglet) was lucky to have some dedicated carers doing what I consider to be one of the most undervalued and underpaid jobs there is. I will always be grateful for their humanity.

By the end and, after an unexpectedly long sentence, I am so grateful that Piglet has finally been set free.

Mammy doing what she always did: holding me up and helping me to reach the good things that life can offer.

We all have to lose our parents and, so I’m told, it is only then that we finally become an adult in this world.

So what will I do as a grown up? For now, it’s back to the house move, I’m up to my scalp in packing boxes and wondering if I reeeeally need to keep the life-size pink sheep that lives in the kitchen.…?

Probably I do, so not a fully fledged adult yet then.

While I wrestle with these momentous decisions, I will continue to live somewhere near the sea (possibly in my car) but I have primed some canvasses because after an unsettling 8 months of not painting, I have an awful lot to download.

If you are reading this, thank you and I really do hope your year is off to a good start but if the rosy apples don’t easily drop into your lap, get on your tiptoes, stretch and you will reach them.

Love,

SJ

 Mammy Szikora.

Always an Inspiration x

 

Comments (9)

  • April Buchan

    April Buchan

    31 January 2020 at 18:44 | #

    Wishing you the very best in your new home. So sorry to hear about your Mum, siblings and friend.

    Life can be so cruel at times but we just have to pick ourself up and carry on. You’ll get there we all do. Piglet obviously raised a loving and strong woman, she will be very proud of you and watching over you at all times. We never stop loving them and carry them close in our hearts always.

    New adventures are unfolding for you and I wish you the very best. I have quite a few pieces of your work and they make me smile every time I look at them. They are some of my most valued possessions.
    Keep up the great work of putting smiles on people’s faces and please, please, please don’t ditch the sheep. We all need quirky in our life’s.

    Take care
    April x

    reply

  • Giles Turner

    Giles Turner

    31 January 2020 at 18:51 | #

    Happy New Year, Sarah-Jane, and good luck with adjusting to the changes in your life. And power to your brain, your eyes and your brushes!

    reply

  • Rachel

    Rachel

    31 January 2020 at 19:00 | #

    I'm so sorry for your losses! The word is a cruel place sometimes and we all need to stop, catch our breath and reset. Sending you virtual hugs. Good luck with resetting and refocusing.
    Much live your Gingerbread Fans x

    reply

  • Nickie Aiston

    Nickie Aiston

    31 January 2020 at 19:08 | #

    Hello, well it’s the strangest thing that has compelled me to respond. I absolutely adore your Who’s the Daddy... I only have a card sadly never managed to find a print. I was just closing the blinds and I had left the card in a pile of stuff to sort ( just relocated back to the UK) when I saw my favourite ginger bread couple ...and I was thinking I really should try and get a print. I opened my ipad and the FB and just saw your post. I just lost my beloved daddy and have been totally devastated ...it’s a tough world grief and I am now 9 months in ....I sincerely want to say...I am so sorry for your loss ...be kind to yourself and do what you love. Nickie

    reply

  • NJ

    NJ

    31 January 2020 at 19:12 | #

    You don't have to grow up ... - all your friends are here to help hold you up ( when we're not fighting you for the shiniest apples ) & your mammy will be watching over you now - good things will come ×

    reply

  • Claire

    Claire

    31 January 2020 at 19:17 | #

    Hello SJ,
    I wanted to say how sad I am to read of the losses you’re enduring. I too lost my Mam, roughly a year ago and I’m still trying to figure out my place in the world since.
    I wish I had some useful advice on coping and a meaningful quote to offer, but unfortunately I don’t. I’ve found that all the ‘firsts’ ie first birthday without, first anniversary of etc are difficult, but survivable.
    I’ve found myself talking out loud to my Mum, which strangely helps and I was told to remember your missing person as they were when happy and healthy and not as they were when they left us - that helps too.
    I hope you find your way of getting through and I hope you find a new home you can be happy in.
    Take care
    Claire ?
    P.S Keep the pink sheep, they need love too! x

    reply

  • Tony

    Tony

    11 February 2020 at 00:18 | #

    Hi You,

    Really sorry to hear about these last few months. I hope you find a calm life work balance again soon. As the World needs your Art to make it smile lift people up and make them think. Happy creating lovely lady. THH. Xx

    reply

  • LORRAINE LINDER

    LORRAINE LINDER

    27 February 2020 at 12:37 | #

    Dear Sarah

    I came across your words quite by accident as I'm sorting out saved website's from a few years ago. You could be a writer mind about a wonderful and talented artist.
    Although the reading was sad it made me smile and has inspired me.
    Wishing you much love and happy memories to come in new home.

    Kindest regards

    Lorraine Linder (Lol x)

    reply

  • John Wilkes

    John Wilkes

    23 March 2020 at 10:25 | #

    Hi Sarah sorry to hear about the loss of your dear Mom, I too lost my Mom in April and my SeptDad in October, I don’t think he got over the loss of my mom found him unconscious a week after her funeral so he was in hospital for 6 months before he passed away. In February this year I also lost my Dad to Dementia after a 7 year battle, I brought the Picture you done a few years ago “Sunshine indoors” to support the Charity. I have required serval prints of yours over the years, it would be nice if you could do another one for the charity has it a worthwhile cause. I do the walks every year which is a great way of getting to know others in the same situation and raising money in the mean time. Keep up the good work making us laugh with the pictures and sending you prayers for your mom. Kind regards John Wilkes.

    reply

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