daily painting | diana

Diana Elizabeth Weil Randrup, my older sister, took her own life yesterday, Friday, May 7, a week short of her 76th birthday. She used a gun. I have no more sisters, now. Diana was burdened by mental illness and anxiety and suffered a great deal throughout her life. She leaves behind two grown children, three grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. She lived in Crescent City, CA. Her daughter and granddaughter had tried to convince her to use more peaceful means, but she had long collected guns and threatened suicide. She was finally successful. Her adult granddaughter, who lived with her, had to endure the shock of finding her body.

This lovely drawing was created by Diana, who had deep oceans of artistic talent. It was a wedding gift to my daughter. 

She was exquisitely talented. I tried to convince her to draw and paint more, but could not. She wrote hilarious send-ups of visits from mom that she shared with select family members. She did beautiful drawings and yarn creations. 

And she was broken. 

In her last few years she refused all contact with anyone outside of her daughter and grandkids who were in the same town; she became agoraphobic and stopped driving. She was paralyzed by terrors and panic attacks. I would send her occasional notes and cards, knowing she would read them even if she didn’t respond. A few years ago, I wrote her a note that may have been more heartfelt than others (I don’t remember) but I about fell over when she wrote me back! I was thrilled that she reached out — very unlike her. After I read the card I tucked it inside my bra so it would be close to my heart and kept it there all day, crying with gratitude. I hadn’t seen her in 20 years, as she refused all family contact. 

This began a correspondence that lasted about a year, which thrilled me. We would exchange political views and anti-Trump rants, mostly. It was a point of connection, obsessing about politics, and we were both news junkies. Her granddaughter Karen told me she would put my cards on the mantle in the living room. I am so grateful to have had that thin thread of connection; she finally stopped writing, saying in her last card it was too stressful.

So, goodbye, Diana. I am enraged you put Karen in this position. And your daughter. You could’ve listened! We could have helped you have a more peaceful death. But you were in too much pain to think of anything but ending your misery. I get that, I do. I hope you are at peace now. We certainly are not.

 

 

 

watercolor painting of twisty bark trees by emily weil

daily painting | twisty bark

You never know what you’ll discover roaming around the funny, funky corners of Alameda Point, home of a former navy base. On a bike ride, I spotted these fascinating, rough-barked trees that were so rich with texture and shadow and twisty-turny shapes. Painting and drawing these wonderful trees with their beautiful bark patterns comforted me today as I am trying to take in the info that we live in a country where we really like shooting each other. Gack. Too horrific to contemplate. Makes me remember standing in line to board a BART train years ago, while a couple of young Australian backpackers/travelers stood behind me, marveling at what they’d experienced as they traveled the U.S. They were agog at how we Americans love our guns, having just visited a shooting range. Sure made me stop and think about how visitors view our culture. As kids we used to shoot cans off tree limbs out in the country and I really enjoyed it. But, seriously? What is happening here?

9″ x 12″ watercolor, pen, acrylic ink, pencil on paper = $140