Tag Archives: Grief

7 Quick Takes Friday

Standard

7_quick_takes_sm

1. Wow.  What a summer…

  • Icky weather.
  • Dad very sick.
  • No beach.
  • Pasty white skin.
  • No trips.
  • Pool only one time.
  • No barbequing
  • Pasty white skin – did I mention that?

BUT, what a fantastic summer it was anyhow!!!!  I immersed myself in learning more about my craft.  This summer was all about making myself a better artist.  Online classes are so incredible!  I absolutely love them.  I learned so much and I think I really improved and learned a TON!! I took several classes from my “idol” artists this summer.  “Paint Your Story” by Mindy Lacefield,“How to Paint Whimsical Animals” by Juliette Crane, & “HerStory” by Danielle Daniel and I’m also enrolled in a year-long course called “Serendipity” by Juliette Crane.  I also took an in-person class by the famous Donna Downey called “How to Paint Like an Artist.”  She came to a local scrap booking store called Altered Angel.   It was a blast!  My dream is to go to Donna’s studio and take a weekend long retreat/class.  Mindy Lacefield will be coming there to teach in 2014.  What a dream come true that would be!  I need to win the Lotto!

Here are some pics of what I created in those classes:

PhotoSheet 5x4 (Owl Fini,Serendip,C,9)

2.  Dad is doing so good!  He was diagnosed (finally) with a condition called “Polymyalgia Rheumatica” after 7 months of hell.  He’s taking Prednisone and it is controlling those terrible fevers and chills.  We are ever so grateful for all the prayers said on his behalf.  It just takes one determined doctor who decided to take ownership and not give up.  We are forever indebted to Dr. Stephen Szabo.  He’s our “Dr. House.”

3.  Join me and thousands of others in praying our latest Novena.  It will be to Saint Jude.  Saint Jude is the patron of Hopeless Causes and Desperate Situations.  Sign up here to get the daily prayers delivered to your email in box.  My father’s diagnosis came while praying the novena to St. Therese the Little Flower.  And we just finished the novena to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  What exactly is a Novena?  Click here to find out!

4.  There are only 67 days until Christmas.

5.  I’m thoroughly disgusted with our government.  All parties – don’t care who they are.  They are an embarrassment and a disgrace.  I will stop there.

6.  I am so excited!  I had someone reach out to me and ask me to give her and her granddaughter an art lesson.  I about cried.  This is part of my dream and it’s going to come true!  Very humbled and honored!

7.  Even after 2 years, I still miss my mom so much it hurts!  I think of her every day.  I talk to her.  I still cry for her.  And there are days that I still just can’t believe it.  I’ll see a picture of her and my heart will just plummet.  I have so many things I want to share with her.  I need so bad to hear her voice.

“Stars”

I lit a fire with the love you left behind
And it burned wild and crept up the mountain side
I followed your ashes into outer space
I can’t look out the window, I can’t look at this place.I can’t look at the stars
They make me wonder where you are
Stars, up on heaven’s boulevard
And if I know you at all, I know you’ve gone too far
So I, I can’t look at the stars.All those times we looked up at the sky
Looking out so far, it felt like we could fly
And now I’m all alone in the dark of night
And the moon is shining, but I can’t see the light.

And I can’t look at the stars
They make me wonder where you are
Stars, up on heaven’s boulevard
And if I know you at all, I know you’ve gone too far
So I, I can’t look at the stars.

Stars

Stars, they make me wonder where you are
Stars, up on heaven’s boulevard
And if I know you at all, I know you’ve gone too far
So I can’t look at the stars.

scan0002

Mommy and Me – Reflections on an amazing year

Standard

The art journey that I started a year ago through Smash-booking has been the most amazing, healing, exciting, scary, out of the box, uncomfortable and crazy experience!  It has been a huge life changer and quite simply a miracle metamorphosis that I am still amazed by and thank God for every day.

I have learned so much, I have been given new eyes to see more beauty than ever before,  a new perspective and a renewed sense of wonder and dreaming.  It has been such an emotional and spiritual walk for me.

Along the journey I have mourned my mom and I continue to do so yet not so intensely.  I have been drawn to things I’ve never been drawn to before.  I have made a whole new group of artsy friends through cyberspace.  I have gained a new sense of self worth.  I have become more self-confident.  I have embraced the fear and did it anyway many times over.  I have taken chances.  I have listened to my gut.  I have walked through open doors.

At age 46, my life has not taken the path that most women’s lives have taken.  I have always been a late bloomer, but now I know God’s timing is perfect.   I feel as if I am becoming who I was born to be.  I feel at peace.  (Better late than never!)

A large part of the journey has been a renewed love and thirst for art – OTHER PEOPLE’S ART – now being able to admire pieces through a different lens…those new eyes of a fellow artist.  I am starting to be a collector of artwork featuring Mothers and Daughters. They bring me so much joy where a year ago they would have brought only sadness.

Take a peek at the start of my new collection of “Mommy And Me” artwork!

“Like Mother, Like Daughter”- I love her primitive style!  This is the very first print I purchased to start my collection.  I painted the mats.  Artist: Mindy Lacefield

You can find Mindy here:  Tim’s Sally

Tim's Sally

This beauty is called “Moi et Maman” – Mama and me. Words on the right hand side are in French also. Translated “I love you Mama, I will love you forever!” Artist is the lovely Danielle Daniel. I painted and “Michelle’d up” the mat. Check out Danielle here: HER PAINTED WORD

Danielle Daniel

And this is entitled “Being There” – painted by talented artist Paula McDonough.  This print is part of a series called Lucky 7 and chronicles her journey through breast cancer treatment.  You can visit Paula on Etsy

Paula McDonough

Keep your eyes open for me!  Would love to add to my collection!

Until next time…Blessings,

Michelle

1 year

Standard

“When she shall die,
Take her and cut her out in little stars,
And she will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.”  Shakespeare

“Perhaps they are not stars in the sky, but rather openings where our loved ones shine down and let us know they are happy.”  Eskimo Proverb

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)  – – e.e.cummings

“There is a sacredness in tears.  They are not the mark of weakness, but of power.  They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues.  They are messengers of overwhelming grief…and of unspeakable love.” ~Washington Irving

“There are no goodbyes for us.  Wherever you are, you will always be in our hearts.” ~Mahatma Ghandi

I love and miss you mommy!!

The SMASH*aholics PINK Challenge

Standard

More pages from Mom’s SMASH* Book.  Nurses school graduation in 1962 and more recent shots from her career as a nurse.  The challenge was just simply USE PINK.  My mom was such a beauty.  She was an awesome nurse and loved her career.  Even when she was retired and went to dialysis 3 x a week, she pretended to be at “work.”  She would say, “Today at work…”  Subconscious slip.  She really meant, “today at dialysis.”  The nurses at the dialysis center knew my mom was special.  They let her into their world, shared things with her and treated her like she was on staff.  They were so wonderful to her!  And my mom never lost her “nursing heart.”  She smiled at everyone, asked how they were and watched over the place many times alerting the nurses that “so and so” needed something, or “so and so” wasn’t feeling good.  Once its in your blood, I guess it never goes away.  She wanted to be the NURSE.  NOT the one being nursed.

I think my most favorite part of this spread is the card I found from Joey.  I love that I could “disassemble” it and preserve it forever instead of it just sitting in a box somewhere.  The huge pink rose is the cover of that special Mother’s day card he gave her.  And the signature says it all.  She was an amazing mother to us.  Miss her so much!

Still SMASH*ing away on Mom’s book!

Standard

I think its really coming along nicely!  It has been very therapeutic and heart wrenching at the same time.  I couldn’t stand the thought of all these incredible memories sitting in boxes.  I have TONS of things to use and preserve.  The ideas keep popping up at the strangest times! I have also picked up counted cross stitching.  Where all this sudden crafty creativity is coming from these days…I do not know.  But, I am loving it.  My problem is I need to finish the first project before I buy others!  LOL!  Have a SMASHING Day!

SMASH* Booking

Standard

I found the products called SMASH* on Pinterest.  I fell in love with the concept.  Its not about perfection or being artsy (which I am not) its about “SMASHING” stuff into a journal type book and using their clever accessories to create a beautiful “messy” scrapbook.  I decided that it would be perfect for me.  Here is a little video on the product and concept.

My first book is devoted to my mother.  It’s been such fun and therapy for me to start this project!  My mom saved EVERYTHING.  She has over 67 years of every card we’ve ever given to her, momentos, documents, licenses, certificates, newspaper clippings, pictures and drawings tucked away.  Its a SMASHING Gold Mine!  Here’s what I’ve done so far:

The Belt of Orion

Standard

I considered not writing anything at all today. It takes a lot out of me. It is terribly painful to be transparent and real with you. This type of entry takes me days to write. I can’t do it all at once, I get too emotional. It’s something I have to do little by little, a few words here and there. Walk away, regroup, get it together, come back, write some more. It takes a toll. Re-reading, editing, deleting, pondering, adding and crying. Frankly it would have been much easier to remember this 6 month anniversary in complete silence. When it comes right down to it though, I can’t do that. It would be very uncharacteristic of me to let it pass without somehow marking the day by writing something…anything. And I really don’t have a choice in the matter anyhow. My thoughts begin writing themselves without my permission in my mind and if I don’t put the words down, I feel like my brain will explode.

Will this be something profound and meaningful? Probably not. Something inspirational and eloquent? No…not likely. Something from a heart that is still broken, raw and empty? Most definitely. Something from 6 months worth of mourning, change, adjustments and grief? Yes. Something from a daughter who misses her mom and would give anything and everything to have her back? Absolutely.

It took 4 months not to feel like a zombie. 4 and a half months to not sob every day. It took 5 months to start to feel like myself again. 5 months to feel like I wasn’t stuck in a bad dream. 5 months for the brain fog to finally lift. 5 and a half months to really feel like it was going to be OK again. 5 and a half months to get my appetite back and not to feel guilty about feeling good or having fun. I honestly felt like I was supposed to be sad or I’d be betraying or forgetting my mother. But, she would not have wanted that. My mom did not do that when my Grandma died. So I can’t do that either.

Now at 6 months, I can have two or three good days in a row. Then…BAM! Something out of the blue throws me over the edge…

Looking up at the sky and seeing our mom’s “3 stars.” You know the 3 stars that are in a perfectly straight line going up and down? Orion’s Belt. She always said that those stars were her stars because they represented her kids.  She’d look up at them all the time.

Finding a gorgeous picture of her on Valentine’s Day that had a Calla Lilly in it from before she got sick. She was healthy, radiant and happy. She had an amazing smile. Her skin was lily white and she had some weight on her. It was her gift of love to me on Valentine’s.

Receiving a text from my Aunt Leigh that said “Rachel just came in to talk to me and I noticed something on the inside of her wrist. I asked what it was and she showed me a heart with AK inside. I asked what that was. And she said it was for Aunt Kathy. She felt her with her today and wants her to be with her tomorrow. Totally started crying. ” Rachel had just competed in day 1 of the Georgia State Swimming Championships. There was an elephant in the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center that day. It was my missing mom.

Reading Facebook status updates by my dad or my brothers that are about my mom. They just completely wreck me.

Losing the Brown Scapular that was on her pillow right beside her head when she died. I wear it every day tucked in my bra. I panicked, I sobbed, I prayed, I pleaded and I found it because she whispered in my ear to look “here.” More sobbing from relief and joy.  I simply could not bear to lose that.

Having to move from the home we shared – our dream house, our porch, our beautiful neighborhood. It was like her dying all over again. Leaving that house without her was a very bad day.

Creating a “tribute” wall to her in the new house. The ideas would come to me and I would just cry and cry setting it up. It turned out beautiful. Grandma’s shelf, Grandma’s mahogany table, her tea cup, the cross stitch pictures that Aunt Mary Ann gave her, her Lladro Nurse holding the baby, our family picture, a candle…a rosary.

I often wonder what she’d think of the new house, would she like it? Would she be proud of me? I hear her voice telling me what to do, how to decorate, how to set things up. She had a good eye. I recently had her wedding portrait matted and framed.  It is a thing of beauty.

I get my sentimentality from her. Everything in this house means something. Everything stands for something. Everything is a memory. Everything reminds me of her. I keep those memories very close. They make me sad and then they ultimately comfort me after these long (or short) 6 months. Miss and love you more than you can imagine mom! Time is healing but time will never erase you from every fiber of my being.