Sunday, February 2, 2014

Capturing memories.

Dad & I Figueres 2012
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.

Pencil in A5 sketchbook.
On January 12th I flew to UK and on arrival discovered that dad was in hospital. When I got to the ward in the afternoon he was unconscious and never regained consciousness. He died peacefully ten days later.
From the 23rd, whilst staying in his house, I found comfort through sketching. I tried to record details of dad that would be lost in a photo, but are the little things that show his everyday life.
Dad stopped smoking when he was 60, but kept the ashtray as it was given to him by his mother-in-law (my nan). Unlike the stereotype, they had a very good relationship.
I never understood how dad could get his dictionaries and encyclopedias in such a tatty condition. I guess putting them back to front on the shelf didn't help.

When I went to the hospital for the doctor's certificate, I was given dad's things. The following day, I drew his wedding ring, watch and glasses before giving them to mum.
Then, I drew his cufflink box, which contained another watch, minus strap, and his hearing aid - I'd wondered where it was.
Dad loved hats, and throughout the house there are caps, trilbies, straw hats and others. I struggled to sketch over the days after his funeral and this hasn't come out as I wanted, the cold hallway didn't help, but it does show some of dad's many hats.
An in situ shot.
Dad & I in Barcelona 2012

 Rest in Peace dad. Christopher Pownall 1.1.1931 - 22.1.2014


  1. Condolences on the death of your father. Capturing parts of his life that represent him is a healing experience and provides something tangible to hang on to along with good memories of him.

  2. So sad Sue but it's a lovely way to remember.. The poem is perfect and made me think of my Dad too...tears for both.

  3. I am very sorry to hear of your loss, Sue - my deepest condolences to you and your mum. Your sketches give many glimpses into your father's life and's indeed a poignant and loving way to remember and cherish him.

  4. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I love that poem, I shared it on facebook when my husband died. I was not able to see my own father during his last days, so I think it is good that you were able to. He sounds like he was a good father.

  5. Sue, you are so strong to be able to sketch these memories and objects from your fathers life right now. I hope it helped and those beautiful special sketches be a great comfort and support to you in the future

  6. What a wonderful tribute to your Dad Sue... and I imagine it is a therapeutic way of dealing with it too. You are very brave and are handling things very well. I am sending you a big hug.
    Your sketches are all gorgeous and very meaningful xxxx

  7. Oh Sue... I've come back to read your post more carefully and it is the most beautiful, loving tribute you have given your father, both in sharing your drawings here, and in the fact that you memorialized the essence of who he was. Your family is going to cherish these drawings, as will you, too. I'm so touched by the way you brought notice to these small but significant remnants of a life well lived. I'm sorry for your loss. He must have been a great man. You are a testament to that!

  8. You have captured them so well. While actually sketching them, there must have been a thousand thoughts that has gone through the mind. This is better than photographing them.


Thank you so much for your comment. I have had to put word verification on again as I keep getting spamed. Sorry.