A year and a half ago, Iris Moore’s world completely shifted.
The Fernwood resident was in Quebec on a weekend cabin trip with friends when she got a call from her mother.
Her father, local musician Michael Waters, was having headaches and vomitting, and was taken to the hospital where they did an MRI. He was eventually diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour and was told he only had months to live.
Moore rushed home to be with her family. After several sessions of chemotherapy, Waters showed significant signs of improvement by the end of the year.
But in the spring of last year, Waters had a seizure and ended up in hospital again. It looked like he only had days to live, forcing the family to say their goodbyes.
“It was really shocking,” said Moore, adding her father had always been in good health, energetic and spritely. “It was very surreal. I felt like the whole world had changed . . . death was always in my awareness, but this made it all the more real.”
Miraculously, Waters pulled through and is now showing fewer symptoms and is able to live comfortably.
The experience has forced Moore to look at death differently and explore her own relationship with it. She did research, reading various books about life and death, having conversations with friends, listening to podcasts about near-death experiences, and eventually came to her own conclusions.
“How do you deal when someone you love goes away forever and how do you deal knowing you’re going to go away one day and have no idea what happens after?” said the 27-year-old, adding her father was always open to talking about death even when Moore and her two brothers were young.
“While it’s a very scary thing to explore, it’s also been really beautiful to see the ways that death brings people together and because it’s the one thing we all have in common.”
Now, Moore, who is a visual artist and animator, is trying to show others that death isn’t as scary as it seems and how it operates in harmony with life.
For the past five months, Moore has been creating a stop-motion animation about death, one she hopes will encourage other people to question their views.
It will be a narrative without dialogue about one character, who represents life, and the other, who represents death, who go through a series of interactions that lead to the realization that they need each other.
This isn’t the first time she has touched on the topic of death.
Moore is also in the progress of self-publishing a children’s book called Why Must the Sun Go Down, about accepting the darkness with the light.
“I would really love to challenge the idea that death is something to be feared and resisted and despised,” Moore said. “I would really love for people to see it as something that is essential to life and something that is sad and beautiful at the same time, and something that can make life all the more precious.”
She expects to have her animation complete in the next few months. It can be viewed online at irislmoore.com.