About a year ago now, I published a text, a poem about my mom’s declining health and self due to a case of Alzheimer that consumed her before our very eyes in a matter of months. It was an ode to her passion for literature, to her bright mind, a woman ahead of her time. What I hadn’t realised then was this piece was marking my stepping into mourning or rather, the acceptance part of that process.
This was followed by having to admit her into a care home during the winter and, only a few weeks later, not being able to see her as covid-19 flooded our lives and what was before a foreign concept became an all time occurence: social distancing. So I found myself alone with my grief, with my sense of loss yet, it’s that physical distance that allowed me to mourn her. But I realised mourning, like death, still is a subject that is taboo: you want to talk about it, open a dialogue about the experience of it but people don’t. They look terrorized, they squirm and want to get out of that convo! I don’t blame them, I blame the fact that our Western society, for the most part, has flushed traditions around rites of passage, death included. But decades, centuries past and we haven’t changed. We’re human and today more than ever, in the midst of a pandemic, we’re in dire need of sense and of community.
I’m an artist. I create stuff. That’s what I do.
Remembering the wise words of Brian Eno, “Beautiful things grow out of shit”, I decided to use my pain, my sadness and put it to good use.
That’s how my Silver Cloud Project / Projet Nuage came to light: a simple cloud-shaped pin to wear in solidarity with the bereaved, to show empathy in these trying times. You can buy it Etsy or via my website www.ajvallee.ca
Today is National Bereavement Day in Canada, so I decided to officially launch the project. There is so much to mourn. Even more now with the pandemic going full steam. But let’s hope we can be there for one another, supporting each other in mourning.