The Hand holding back the Red Dragon​

It's been over eight months now since the moment our lives underwent some major changes, both immediate and long-term.

Having kept a journal every day for the last two decades has meant I've developed a habit of reflecting deeply on my life and that of my little family. 

Also, as an artist, I've found visual and artistic forms of reflection as important ways of expressing and processing my thoughts. In the early weeks of Ned's diagnosis I found myself sketching out images of Ned battling a dragon. 

I saw the dragon as representative of the cancer that has attacked his body. I drew a sword and helmet as the chemotherapy, arming my young warrior against the red dragon. 

But naturally, as a sculptor, my artistic reflections turned to more three dimensional manifestations. My gnarled reptilian beasts became a steel wire frame creature with plow shears as claws and other steel objects breaking up the lines that suggested his form like a 3D drawing. The creature was powder coated red, connecting it symbolically to the blood cancer of my son. 

I chose to not depict Ned in this, but rather carved a stone clenched fist, through which I ran a rope noose that went around the neck of the dragon. 

This part of the sculpture represents something that has run deep beneath all our ups and downs, even when the present and the future looked bleak, and without the dreams we'd so deeply longed for.

This hand is the hand of God - ultimately He is in charge and knows the plans and purposes for our lives. He is holding back the red dragon. 

This constant, this foundation, is what helps us keep going, because it isn't easy, especially with the depressing cocktail of lost socialisation with other kids and families, the tattered dreams of overseas work and travel, and the long road ahead!