Check the Mail for Her Letter explores memory and loss after my grandmother succumbed to dementia. Two streams of visuals weave in and out of time and space: a collection of modern photographs in the months leading up to, and following, her passing and a series of vintage portraits dating back to her childhood. I use gouache and wax pencil to obscure elements as I consider how to visualize fragmented recollections and decaying memories. For example, even when identities were forgotten, could my grandmother still remember being loved and the tender way my grandfather caressed her arm?
The last time I saw my grandmother her mind briefly slipped, as she insisted to return to the old farmhouse to check the mail. Could she have possibly known that I would be sitting here today with an unsent letter?—words that would have been my last communication before losing her completely. This letter, never mailed, unraveled an eerie string of events that led me to wonder about the space where reality and delusion intermingle.
Amy Parrish is an artist and writer based in West Bengal, India. Often pairing words with images in hand-crafted processes, her artwork has been recognized in selections such as the Julia Margaret Cameron Award, and internationally published and exhibited in outlets such as the Huntington Museum of Art, NPR, and the Angkor Photo Festival. To learn more, visit www.amyparrish.com.
The Waking is an online literary magazine and a part of the Ruminate creative community that houses high-quality literary writing about what it’s like to be human. We are interested in short-form prose and visual-text hybrid work. This art can be beautiful, it can be strange, we just ask that it feels true.