An eerie sight – like abandoned shoes, but much more human as they end in toes. We see the toes and expect to see, want to see a person rising up above them, but there is only emptiness, only a dull wooden wall with no trace of life. The person has left forever and, needing them no more, left their feet behind.
Recently, my grandmother died. At her memorial service, family members told many fond stories about her life and the impact she left on her family, friends and students. Like footprints on her walk through a long life.
The walk has ended, the footprints stopped. Her absence is felt deeply, a dark, black void like the one in these abandoned shoes. Without her, her home feels as empty as the blank wall and gravel floor.
This is a surrealist painting, and even though it is a natural part of life, death feels surreal to us. It takes time to grasp the reality of the loss. Whatever your beliefs, there remains a mystery in death, an eeriness mixed with sadness and fear.
Artwork: René Magritte, Le modèle rouge, 1935. Moderna Museet, Stockholm