Mayke forever, a celebration of memories and expressions

May 31, 2021 in ART

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I have sad tidings from La Suyère, Mayke passed away after a gruesome final battle, in the end her heart gave in. Existentially her maladie was one of perseverance through storms, a fight for survival with determination and hope of making it through, then as each storm abates to step down to a plateau below, for each storm takes part of you with it. I had hoped she would again reach another plateau of life while in the know she was rapidly approaching the end. I had promised not to tell but also not to lie, two weeks before the end she queried a prognostic, i deflected again until she affirmatively asked « is this the end ».

Mayke valiantly battled through five years of this hell, aware of her progressive diminishment she harnessed her creativity in this battle with awesome determination, rewarded with a wonderful year on therapeutic holiday – the 2019 plateau was a rebound for her and for her art. I sought to capture that “phoenix” moment on our website here https://www.artseaprovence.com/2019/05/mayke-sassen-2019-oeuvres-artwork/

Then clouds re-emerged on the horizon, the “periwinkles” she had sought to domesticate and extricate (see the description of her 2019 painting ”Invaders”) became her “warts”. Her daily trek up the mountain had been forsaken but rain or shine we would trek the unpaved road from Camp de la Suyère to Val Daubert until her mobility was further hampered and other neurological trauma emerged, with at times the frustrating inability to express herself.

The passion of her art had been stolen away, the joy of grabbing her thermos of coffee before breakfast and be off to her atelier to plot the day ahead, her raison d’être, had slowly faded before it became overbearing of effort. The last treatments seemed to have poisoned so much more than the maladie, I feared this new plateau, if it was one, would be her last, she had misplaced her essence in that grinding spiral where mental and physical labor in discordance. My grief is beyond anything I could have anticipated, she was my love, my first mate, my compass and so much more, but her diminishment and the phobia of the illness consumed her muse and sense of purpose.

It is difficult to bear witness to such existential chaos, I had been forewarned. There was no pause, the sickness insidiously drew her remaining strength before and unbridled assault the last two weeks. I am torn between two lines from Dylan Thomas « Rage, rage against the dying of the light » yet, I must tell my love « go gentle into that good night ».

For so many years her art has been on display and cherished in many corners of the world, I felt it was time for the Mayke to be on display, her memory celebrated and cherished. This will be the final posting of our website, it traces but a portion of our lives with a wealth of memories that I have sought to illustrate with photos of her times, the great, the good but mostly the expressions so typical of her being.

 

Au revoir my love, Jean Pierre

“ It’s an honor to be in grief. It’s an honor to feel that much, to have loved that much.”

(borrowed from Elizabeth Gilbert’s on Love, Loss, and How to Move Through Grief as Grief Moves Through You )

 

 

Mayke forever, a celebration of memories and expressions

One Comment

    1. Frank says:

      Dear JP,
      I am not good at this, but I want to honestly express how sorry I feel for your loss. I came across this website after finishing the book “A Storm too Soon”, which has touched me as a fellow sailor, and was a recommendation by a friend, who, a sailor too, said it will put my ambitions to go cruising into perspective. Well, it did and I am still struggling to understand the severity of this storm and the conditions you and your fellow sailors have encountered. I want to thank you for the perspective this story provided to me. Life indeed is very precious, and I am happy for you that you could return to Mayke after these terrible days and nights at sea, to enjoy some more happy years together. Life is precious and it always feels it is to short, and unfair when a beloved one has to go. I feel for your loss, as a fellow sailor I feel connected, as a fellow human being, I am, too. Your story and Mayke’s Art have touched me. Thank you for that. Stay well, JP, and sail safe, the answer to all our questions lies beyond the horizon. Cheers, mate, Frank

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Mayke forever, a celebration of memories and expressions

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