Amber Rahe

In the moment of a great personal loss everyone experiences the different stages of grief, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The work I have been creating over the past couple of years has been influenced by my own great personal loss and observing the reactions of the people around me that are experiencing the same loss. What struck me the most was the third stage of grief–bargaining. There is an undeniable need for faith presented at this stage in which we cling to things that comfort us such as God, medicine, family, afterlife, and love. We all have to put faith in something that is out of our control at this stage and I have set out to explore that sense of faith.

There is a story that occurs in the process of dying. The first part of this series is the story of my Grandmother. It is imagery that reminds me of my Grandmother both figuratively and literally, and other symbols such as birds and insects that are conventionally accepted as representations of illness and death. The second part of this series is the story of the people that are left behind. The same imagery and symbols are used to emphasize the type of faith they are exhibiting. My paintings and drawings are a combination of this imagery and other personal associations with the journey of death and dying.

While experiencing the difficult process of my Grandmother’s death, the notion of faith became significant. I watched the people around me go through the various stages of grief and come back to their faith every time. There is a calm resolution that comes with faith and a knowing awareness in the person’s demeanor. The conviction held in someone’s eyes when experiencing great faith is a remarkable and beautiful occurrence.