I’m more that just a little bit blown away at the way my piece “Giving Grief Away” (or Panel of 12 or Grief Transformed – it changed a lot) has taken me full circle. Starting with just that impulse to paint what I felt, to be heard and to communicate in a way that felt safe and kind I found myself writing this blog. I found myself digging into parts I didn’t even know existed and answering questions I didn’t even know I had.
It took me a year after I lost him to cancer to start the work. Then another year to finish it and finally another year to blog and organize myself for the art show I wanted all of this to culminate to. In fact, as I did this work very few people knew of it; A close friends, anyone following this blog (thank you!) and my family. In fact when I felt it was all done I started to will myself to speak of it more so that I could put feelers out for this art show I wanted but I didn’t really know who would be willing to hang such a work.
During this time I was having brunch with a good friend and mentioned it again. She told me a gallery owner and friend worked just a few doors down and asked if I would want to check it out. Honestly, I felt hesitant because I didn’t believe in myself, because I didn’t want to be rejected and because I didn’t want to have to reject someone else. Before I could make up my mind that studio owner came walking into the restaurant. We met and talked (but not about my piece) then promised to meet her at her studio.
The work was really amazing when we walked into that tiny little studio. Highly skilled metal work and 3 dimensional multimedia pieces. I felt like an even smaller fish about my piece then before but I kept her in the back of my mind.
Finally, I resolved to contact her and she agreed to have a home visit to my studio to see the work. When she came by she didn’t remember meeting me from before but she was warm and responded to the work. She told me it was a very poignant time for her to have a show like this because she had just gotten back from a service for one of her friends passing away from cancer. We both had logistical questions about how to hang it and how to present the music so she left and I didn’t know when my show might happen. About a week later she contacted me and asked if I wanted to show at the end of that week and although I am never much into rushing I decided to grab this opportunity and went for it.
Things happened fast from there, invites where sent out. I made finishing touches, I got all the pieces over to her to hang and printed out little excerpts from my blog to include. I didn’t have much of an expectation for who might show up considering it was so last minute but there really was an amazing turn out and it didn’t take much to fill up that space. I could no longer complain about not being heard. That day was amazing!
So there it was, up for the whole month of July (the month he pasted away). I was heading out on a camping trip, July 28 (the actual date of his passing) with my family when I got a message from the studio owner asking if my artwork could stay up for a few more weeks. I gladly accepted and sent my dearly departed friend and band mate a silent thank you from every inch of my being. Without him, without this story, I never would have been brave enough to realize this path. A path that has taken me full circle, from pain to healing.
Just the other day I realized, I had written about all the ways I went about this healing but failed to mention all the books and they were many. Written by people who knew another way of thinking. I know not every voice speaks to us the same but here are some of the voices I connected to during this time (at least as many as I can remember). I hope you enjoy at least a few of these…