Headstones – The Process
Our goal is to create something that expresses memories. In order to achieve this, we utilize our experience and intuition to carry out the work. The following examples explain how this is done.
Tam had, at the time of her death at age 20, enrolled in University in order to study Psychology. She wanted to become a ‘natural healer’ and felt she needed to understand people further. She was also taking short courses in such alternative therapies as Reiki, Bach Flower remedies and Holistic Pulsing (massage) etc. At the same time she was researching her Scandinavian and Celtic heritages and beginning to write her first fantasy novel. She left us a body of poetry and short stories; beginning writing seriously at age 16yrs, until her death. I am in the process of self publishing them into book form.
Tam died in 1994 (quietly) from a flu virus which attacked and destroyed her heart muscles. At that time medical people were not aware of this potentially lethal strain of flu. The ceremony for her death/ celebration of her life was held in a wild (little known) place by the river under a big tree close to our home. She was then buried in the cemetery in Raglan township, as she had written in her diary that she considered Raglan her Spiritual Home. We did almost everything around her death ourselves, aside from the legal requirements e.g. a friend facilitated the ceremony, people spoke, read poems and played musical instruments. We filled in her grave ourselves etc.
Tam had an innate sense of Spirituality and at the time of her death, was exploring what this meant to her and for her life. The Spiritual name she owned was ‘Ariadne Wordweaver’. She was interested in the old ‘Pagan’ belief systems which are closely allied to the cycles of the natural world (especially those of the place we come from) and in ‘witches’ – being seen as strong and empowered women/healers in touch with old and valuable knowledge, used for the growth of life. Hence the idea of ‘Merry meet and merry part and merry meet again…. it is part of a song and I think reflects her belief (and mine) that life does not end at death, but continues in Spirit and that we will be reborn.
This coming year, 2014, will be the 20th anniversary of her death. I think this a good time for her to have an enduring headstone which reflects herself and continues the sense of history she so valued. The white marble seemed to me, something that Tam would love.
Marrie – Tam’s Mum.’
I thought that the key to giving the stone an artistic twist and personality would be a celtic touch with lots of plants entangled in knotwork. The celts (whose heritage your daughter was interested in) were pagan and highly spritual people living more in harmony with nature than any other tribe that invaded Europe at a later stage. They also had the druids and witches your daughter was so fascinated by.
Spirituality means believing in things beyond reality; secrets that are not visible with the human eye. There needs to be a hidden thought in the pattern that only a knowledgable person will see when looking at the stone. It will show what she was like ‘under the surface’.
This knotwork travels to the top of the stone and closes in a circle to represent the thought of reincarnation and the fact that spirit is travelling through an ongoing circle between death and life. This is almost like the spiral that you suggested but we are going to use symbols instead of words. In there is the ‘secret language’ that I have been talking about and I think it should contain the following components:
- An abstract symbol for her love for words and language
- An abstract symbol for her being a part of a band and playing music
- Her path as a natural healer (a female druid figure ‘witch’). She will have the same hair as on the picture that you sent me.
- Family and friends
- And most importantly: it is now the 20th anniversary of her death and the distance of her last life to now is similar to how old she got. Following her belief (and if time is still the same for spirit) there is now another being of the same age that should also appear on this headstone in some way.
The untamed appearance of leaving some of the sides of the rock unworked also seems to be in harmony with the leaves and trees in the background.’
I have just showed your e mail to my eldest son Simon and he has exactly the same reaction as I do.
Kind regards – Marrie – and thankyou from Graham also.’
Other examples of former tombstone work
|“The story about this tombstone gets told in our documentary and is one of our favourites. The deceased parents’ children could not come up with an idea for something that they both loved. After talking to the family and them constantly mentioning new names of other brothers and sisters I slowly realized how many children they had. 18! I remember how quickly the idea for the design came together after this discovery.”
|“The idea for this headstone was very intuitive. It spawned from a short talk with the family who had lost their son in a car accident. They gave me the key words right from the start. He was a good observer – and this is what the stone shows: eyes. A beautifully proportioned stone that reminds me of Picasso eyes depicted in two abstract arches.”