Cover image for Life Support: Invitation to Prayer By Judith Cohen Margolis

Life Support

Invitation to Prayer

Judith Cohen Margolis

BUY

$21.95 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-08373-5

96 pages
4" × 6"
9 color/21 b&w illustrations
2019

Graphic Medicine

Life Support

Invitation to Prayer

Judith Cohen Margolis

Life Support exemplifies the genre of graphic medicine. Spare and raw, we are thrust into the physicality of health and illness, bodies and fluids, as well as emotions deep and intense. She offers us feelings, ugly and unrepentant at times, with moments of grace at others, and in the process of the work, reveals a healing balm, years in the making.”

 

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In this meditative, heartbreaking, and unexpectedly comforting book, artist and essayist Judith Margolis tells the story of her mother’s illness, decline, and death through thoughtfully written vignettes, poignant drawings, and poetic, prayerful affirmations.

As her mother fights a series of health crises and faces the end of her life, Margolis documents her anxious concern and her father’s turmoil while juggling responsibilities and her own distress. The resulting narrative, told with quiet intensity and candor, bears witness to contentious deliberations over medical decisions, the difficulties of patient care, and the complicated dynamics of family. In this book, designed to imitate a traditional Jewish prayer book, Margolis reminds herself and others caring for a dying parent to “pray”—pray for clarity, pray to stay centered, pray to forgive oneself—as a way of acknowledging and embodying the turbulent emotions involved. Both the form of the book and Margolis’s rendering of the traditions involved in a family death ground Life Support firmly in the Jewish experience, providing a spiritual layer to this honest, realistic narrative that all readers will find inspiring and relevant.

Life Support: Invitation to Prayer is a unique testimony to the power of creative response to infirmity and careful documentation during times of personal loss, as well as a loving tribute to family, spirituality, and grief.

Life Support exemplifies the genre of graphic medicine. Spare and raw, we are thrust into the physicality of health and illness, bodies and fluids, as well as emotions deep and intense. She offers us feelings, ugly and unrepentant at times, with moments of grace at others, and in the process of the work, reveals a healing balm, years in the making.”
“As she attended to her mother’s declining days, Judith Margolis instinctively, deeply recorded them in art and text that have the quality of prayer. One sees in this work the profound tenderness of attention. From within the great hollow of loss, this book offers unexpected comfort. Margolis lifts up an art and practice that attend to the ineffable, and in whose spirit loss becomes presence.”

Judith Margolis is the art editor of נשים / NASHIM, Journal of Jewish Women’s Studies and Gender Issues, cocurator of Women of the Book, an international visual Torah midrash project, and creative director of Bright Idea Books.