- The child abandoned by a mother is left with unfillable voids. The first void is physical and factual: She is no longer there. The second void is more subtle and internal: Gone too are vital parts of the child’s sense of self - their sense of being lovable, that the world around them is reliable and that their place in it is secure. Like nature, our inner worlds hate a vacuum. To Project
- These voids are first filled with often unspeakable questions: Why did she leave? What did I do wrong? What is wrong with me? Then with answers, as the child pieces together an internal discourse as to their own shortcomings or the aberrant behaviour that caused its mother to flee. These voids can also be filled with a third ingredient: Other Mothers.
- Other Mothers are those who step in to provide the physical and emotional nourishment, care and contact that has been lost. Other Mothers is about one such child - me - and tells how my personal cast of Other Mothers held me and continue to hold me still. And how the love of my Other Mothers can slowly challenge those earlier feelings of being unlovable and of holding an uncertain place in a seemingly cruel world.
In "After", my previous project, I endeavoured to explore the immediate ramifications of abandonment on the young child. In "becomings", I'm seeking to trace my own disintegrated sense of identity between the ages of about five and my early 20s, an extended adolescence. Here, my son Tom and I play through my history of partially absorbed identities in a dialectic with his own solid sense of self, to explore the relationship between trauma and self-plasticity.
WHEN A MOTHER IS GONE
Parenting Never Stops
SCOTT AND TIA
- Carol Churcher has never met Sue and Steve Tuck. But what they say of losing a child is nearly identical: That parenting does not stop after your child dies.
- Scott and Tia - their children - killed themselves after long struggles with mental health. Scott, who lived in Suffolk, was 44 and died in 2016. Tia, who lived in Cambridgeshire, was 21 and died in 2018. Both families have kept their children's remains - Carol had some of Scott's remains ground down and mixed with pigment for a tattoo on her arm.
- Both families continue to grapple with their loss. And both families, in different ways, hope the world beyond can benefit from their terrible experiences.