A sigh of relief and a very deep breath

Today feels significant. Since last year I have been looking at the photographs I took of my Mum’s flower arrangements either on my phone or on the screen of my MacBook Air. Both small screens to view images that are intended to be A1 size when printed and so difficult to know how they will look printed and full size.

I have spent a couple of weeks in discussion, via email, with Spectrum in Brighton to get advice on how best to print the images and now the first one has arrived in a cardboard tube. I make a cup of tea and just ponder the tube for a while. I am both scared and excited at the thought of opening it and seeing the contents.

Since I took these photographs in April 2020 I have been planning an exhibition of them ‘Making Arrangements’. The images and the exhibition were discussed with my Mum over our numerous phone calls and then the restricted visits to her in the Care Home. Mum couldn’t understand why I was doing the work but was so proud that I was. Of course the plan was that she would be able to visit the exhibition and see what she had inspired but that is now not to be.

Making Arrangements was always chosen for its various interpretations – my Mum making flower arrangements, me making arrangements to clear her home, and something I had hoped it would not mean quite so soon, making arrangements following the loss of her.

And so coming face to face with this first print is hard. I want to share the moment with her but that is not to be. Another cup of tea is made and I sit down to write, avoiding the task.

The c-type print is carefully rolled in brown paper – I love brown paper, and as I unroll it I find it covered in a layer of white tissue to protect its surface. The tissue offers a veiled glimpse of the image beneath and it feels very much like revealing a print that has gone through my printing press as I take away the tissue.

Making Arrangements – there you are! It is just as I had hoped.

A sigh of relief and a very deep breath to overcome the sometimes overwhelming physical weight of loss that manifests itself right in my chest. This moment has been conquered and I can move on to planning the exhibition and ordering the other 12 prints.

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