The recent conversations we are having at work around designing for Death have lead me to an article about how the Bhutanese culture thinks about death five times a day. In this article, it mentioned a 2007 study by the University of Kentucky psychologists Nathan DeWall and Roy Baumesiter that concluded with “death is a psychologically threatening fact, but when people contemplate it, apparently the automatic system begins to search for happy thoughts”.
I then began this journey of contemplating my own death and how this may influence my spiritual happiness. I started reconciling the stories I have had with friends and family around the topic, one particular story that stood out was from a friend whose mother passed away unexpectedly during child birth.
My friend had very little knowledge of her mother. Her father was so full of grief from the unexpected death of his one true love that up until today, some thirty odd years later, he still refuses to discuss the topic. The pain was embedded so deeply in her father that all memories of her mother have been removed from their house to avoid all conversations on the topic - All memories except the one dress that has been hung behind his bedroom door for the last thirty odd years.
This dress is all my friend knew of her mother.
Just like many fellow designers, I collect artifacts. I collect these artifacts because they provide me with inspiration for my work as a designer, and they are often expressions of who I am or aspirations of who I want to be. The act of collecting had been somewhat of a self indulgence exercise. The story from my friend about her mother's dress has inspired me to think about the relationship between my two and a half year old daughter and these artifacts that I deeply treasure. I have therefore created this blog with the hope that my daughter would one day(hopefully in about 40 years from now) be looking at these artifacts with positive stories and happy thoughts about her beloved designer daddy. By making this blog public, I hope it will also inspire us all to appreciate our relationships with the artifacts around us.