In my personal life 2021 started with overwhelming sadness from the death of my 27-year old daughter Emily. Visible mending has been EXTREMELY visible with this part of my life.
In my professional life 2021 started with an unbelievably, wonderful creative contract.
In late December 2020, my daughter, Emily, was in hospital due to complications from her May 2019 heart transplant. I received an email from a friend + art director about a program coordinator 3-month contract coming in January. As I read the position description I knew this was a great opportunity.
The Arts Council of Highlands Highlands (Ontario) received funding from the Haliburton County Development Corporation to create a 3-month program teaching Haliburton area artists + makers how to build, or rebuild, their online digital presence. Covid hastened the need for online presence. I applied for the Program Coordinator position at the arts council’s The Digital Comfort Studio.
Emily died on January 1st, 2021. My interview was scheduled a few days later. I emailed the committee to let them know about Emily + I would withdraw my application if necessary.
I didn’t know how I would react from moment to moment dealing with the raw emotions of losing a child. Would I burst into tears during the interview? If I was offered the opportunity, would I be able to finish it?
For 27-years everything I did was contingent on Emily's heart health. Every job, event + commitment was prefaced with, “If my daughter needs me I need a leave of absence.”
I was offered the program coordinator job.
For the first time in 27-years I was making a commitment without the need to preface.
Saying that, if my husband or son need me in any way I would also need a leave of absence, but likely to a lesser degree than with Emily -- unless an emergency of course.
The Digital Comfort Studio was a great success. So much so that we are looking for ways to build onto the program + offer it to a wider audience. (let me know if you are interested -- email: email@example.com)
I am grateful for the opportunity given to me from Pat Jones, Chris Lynd, Tammy Rea of The Arts Council of Haliburton Highlands + The Digital Comfort Studio.
Tammy is creating an online magazine about The Digital Comfort Studio pilot program for new participants to view + learn from. (again, let me know if you are interested -- email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
I find the 1st of the month to be painful as it marks the monthly anniversary of Emily’s death. It’s a process. Everything is fine -- until it’s not.
I find myself applying for more art grants + creative contracts with 100% confidence in my commitment to complete them using the best of my abilities. I am excited about the future. I am giving my craftivism + vending mending projects the time + energy that they deserve.
I am calling this part of my life Chapter 3. Thanks for reading + thanks for being a part of my Chapter 3.
P.S. I am a Chicken Mom now. 11 Columbian Rock X hens, they are just over a week home now. Stay tuned for chicken update. xoxo
Sandra Clarke • A Work In Progress