Well, hell. That’s kind of my response to most things these days. But really I can’t complain — I’m safe, and now dry, in my home, my brother’s demise from brain cancer is slow, which creates room for lots of sweet and moving and healing conversations about family, and I’m getting a bit more rest which is leading to more energy for painting. Life is weird and strange and brilliant and wondrous and crazy and stormy and wrenching. All of that. I just want to soak it all up and experience everything, you know? Grief turns you inside and out and shakes you upside down, and the damn bitch has her own timetable. Which is frustrating. And today this is my life, and I embrace it. Often with resentment. But I’m learning acceptance.
This carnival ride can be lonely. I love the response I heard recently from a counselor who several years ago lost her husband in a tragic kayaking accident; a year later her brother suddenly died. She gave me great comfort, as we talked about how our western world is deeply uncomfortable with the raw emotions that come with loss — you’re supposed to take a pill and chill out, as strong feelings make people squirm. She spoke of her experiences with some people in her orbit who lacked “emotional courage.” Someone told her that she should just “get over it; it’s been long enough.” And, “I’m sorry I didn’t call, I just didn’t know what to say.” Her reply to that was, “Google it! Takes 5 minutes!” which made me howl with laughter.
Giggling is good. Sometimes I seek out a comedy show, as I know laughing will make me feel better. Other times I watch a movie I know will make me weep. Both are healing. And necessary.
[This is a painting done for the president of the roofing company that replaced my roof; I bartered artwork for partial payment for the costs. This juvenile red-tailed hawk likes to hang out on the railing outside his window, hunting ground squirrels.]
30″ x 22″ watercolor, pencil, ink, pastel on paper