A Woman Uses Art To Come To Terms With Her Father’s Death

I started making a large cardboard boat not long after mum was diagnosed with dementia. I had a dream I was standing on the shore watching her drift away in a boat which was the catalyst. I haven’t finished the work yet don’t quite know how. But that’s ok it did the job for me…Indie

Dying & Death Talk

Courtesy of NPR.org | By Meredith Rizzo|Originally Posted 05.04.2015 | Published 10.02.2017

A month after her father died of sepsis, Jennifer Rodgers began creating maps.

She took a large piece of paper, splattered it with black paint and then tore it into pieces. Then she began to draw: short black lines mimic the steps she walked in the hospital hallway during her father’s hospitalization.

“It was a physical release of emotion for me,” she says.

The layered pieces document her father’s seven-month fight with sepsis, a life-threatening condition when the body’s response to infection causes inflammation that can destroy organs. They also represent her feelings of uncertainty and grief.

We talked with Rodgers, a high school art teacher in Philadelphia, about how she created the artworks. The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

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