It's so easy to say ...
"One must learn to live all one's life and you will be surprised: one must learn to die all one's life" (Seneca).
This very wise sentence had already said Lucius Annaeus Seneca (philosopher who lived in Rome in the late 1st century BC).
It is March 2023, I am sitting on a sunny park bench and the first warm scent of spring is wafting around my nose. Wonderful! It begins to smell like fresh "new" life, white anemones, purple crocuses, delicate light pink daisies, the many colorful pansies fall into my field of vision and make my heart beat faster.
So much new life! What a wonderful thought, but all of a sudden my mind wanders off among all the fresh new life.
A small leaf, wilted and decomposed by winter, had caught my attention and I wondered - isn't it a great illusion to think that this doesn't happen to us?
Several people in my circle have also died in the last two years (young ones too, or rather they were just far too young to die) and each time one is shocked and stunned. I notice how I keep alternately squinting one eye and the other, sometimes looking at the old withered and decomposed leaf and then again at the small young delicate daisies.
Immediately the question arises: What about my own ability to let go?
In recent years, I have seen again and again how hard and painful it is for relatives, friends and acquaintances when a loved one dies without having learned to grieve and the topic of death is still a topic that people like to put off for a long time. Best one does not speak about it and knows it preferably only from the Sunday crime scene.
I ask myself right now, does death simply no longer fit into the image of our fast digital progressive and youth-oriented time or is it simply the fearful thought about one's own dying?
In the middle of my thoughts a loud Tak-tak-tak drums over to me. A spotted woodpecker is drumming vigorously against a dead oak tree. Does it want to give me perhaps thereby a signal once my life "to knock off" and think also about things, which one represses most gladly? For me, the woodpecker is a very special animal, a true beast of strength and heart and his tireless persistent knocking, always conjures up a smile on my face and makes me admire him.
My gaze falls back on the small decomposed leaf and I think, in India death is part of everyday life, why not with us? Wouldn't it be nice to integrate a certain symbolic cycle of life and death in some form in our everyday life? Wouldn't it then be easier for us to live appreciation, love and normality in the moment of great, deep and painful grief?
I allow these feelings and also into my heart and think smilingly of Katrin.
It was she who said to me just a few days ago "To felt your own urn or coffin decoration in the middle of life means to enjoy life now in the awareness of finiteness".
I had to think longer about this very concise sentence. It contained so many important keywords - in the middle of life - consciousness - finiteness - own coffin decoration. I was fascinated by it, emotionally touched and understood even more how important and valuable it is to be able to deal with this topic in a self-determined way during one's lifetime.
Katrin Bigl has a small store in Leipzig with the inspiring name "Filzerei Woll Lust". There she makes handmade urns, coffin jewelry and also offers felting courses with a lot of dedication, love and creativity.
Her passion to create and make these things, to play with the natural element of wool in a lightness and to explore their own creative boundaries while felting again and again and also to surprise themselves with always new ideas made me very curious about what was her motivation to create these small and large wonderful art objects.
She tells me how it came about that the coffin jewelry and the felt urns became her very personal affair of the heart and also how important it was to her to felt his urn for her late father and to find a lot of comfort and support in it.
Sitting on the park bench I look into the warming rays of the spring sun and remember how I could suddenly feel so much warmth, humanity, life stories and preferences in her felt urns and coffin decorations. I felt the wonderful soft material which radiated firmness and warming protection, but also so much personal, individual and also refined. Because if one wishes, a small felted pocket can be integrated into the felt urn or the grave decoration, which leaves room for a last dear farewell greeting or a word of thanks. A wonderful thought.
But the most important thing for me, these small and large art objects tell a part of the life story of a person and so it will also tell mine. We also talked about my own personal flow of life and I felt their passion in the idea development and I liked the idea that through the organic material the transience of the felt urns or the grave decoration the idea of the great cycle is taken up again, that we are all involved in this cycle and is always ensured that new life can arise.
This thought brings a satisfied and relieved smile to my face.
It made me think quite inevitably of Mark Twain, as he once said "Don't cry because it's over, but laugh because it was so beautiful."