HOW DO I HOLD THOSE 17 DAYS?
On Saturday, September 7, 2019 my eighteen-year-old cousin Jordan Lee Airy took her own life. Seventeen days later on Tuesday, September 24, 2019, my nephew Parker David Baird was born. I found myself questioning how I could fully grieve death when I was thrilled for the new life that was born. Simultaneously, I wondered how I could welcome a new life into this world as I had to say goodbye to a life that was taken too soon. I found myself needing to create a performance that reflected life, death, and the space in between.
For two hours, I sat in a rocking chair with a block of ice suspended above my lap. I used my toes to propel myself back and forth, rocking as slowly as I could possibly move. My breath was visible throughout my entire body. My arms rested beside me with my hands opened upwards. The block of ice dripped slowly onto my lap, water running down my legs, creating a puddle at my feet. I wanted to reach up and hold the ice, as if it were a baby within my own arms, but the shock of each cold drip of water on my skin kept me from doing so. Instead, I sat determined to keep rocking, to keep feeling every drop, and ultimately to keep being present.