Koot was murdered under murky circumstances; almost on the par of ancient Greek tragedy as his mother-in-law appears to have been implicated in his death. To counter the nightmare and repair Koot’s sullied reputation, I worked with his mother Shirley(suffering from complicated grief at the time) to gather all her most pleasant memories of her son. Two of her most vivid recollections was Koot as a toddler playing on her bed; another was Koot barbeque-ing hot dogs in the dead of winter. The two images organically form in Shirley’s mind as a brand new memory.
Her healing begins immediately. In Agnieska Ziemacka’s documentary about Koot’s Dreamscape, Shirley confesses that when she’s depressed and sees “my baby’s toes warmed over the fire, I can fall right asleep.” Here, Shirley responds to other sections of her Dreamscape:
“When I saw it, I just got caught up in the moment. Good grief, look it here. It seemed as if Koot and Stacy was here. Alive. Brightness away from darkness. The dreamscape reminds me of ying and yang. That’s what we are, my family – that’s what we are. If you’re not in the light, then it’s like, kind of wicked. That’s one of my codes – bright. I got it because my name means bright meadows. When I was a kid growed up on the campus of Mississippi State University, I was oh so innocent. I’d take a shortcut through the daffodils. Sometimes I reminisce about how pretty it was, how green it was, so peaceful.
My son was abused and he was tired. He’s at peace now. You don’t know what he was going through. Now my son’s life is not in vain, now all that wicked stuff is out. The whole house is at peace. In the montage he’s looking up towards the heavens.
My 10 year old grandchild asked me: Are you happy, grandma? I want you to be happy, grandma . We really should not grieve ourself to death; our love ones will not like that. They are at peace and they want us to be happy with the time that we have here. God Bless!”
Recommended reading: “Prescriptive Photomontage: A Process and A Product for Meaning-Seekers with Complicated Grief” (Annals of American Psychotherapy, 2010)