watercolor of pear by emily weil

daily painting | single pear

This morning I am thinking things like, “What would Jamey do?” My brother was so stoic, accepting; even fatalistic. In his 16-month decline from brain cancer I never once heard him complain or feel sorry for himself. I thought that was remarkable. (The nursing facility staff loved him.)

So I’m reframing my current life situation with that in mind. No resistance, no self-pity. I’ll adapt and find what I need, even if I don’t know what that is yet. 

Another thing I admired in him was his sense of civic duty. He helped the Dipsea foot race run more smoothly for 40 years, purely for the love of the race. He served on the board of his condo organization, wanting to contribute out of a sense of responsibility to give back. 

I was told the Dolphin Club in SF lowered their flag to half-mast in honor of him; he was remembered as someone who offered helpful advice and support to other bay swimmers. I am so moved by that (he was a life-long member, which means his photo is up in the club and at some point I’ll go visit it to pay my respects; I loved hearing his stories of different swims, including, amazingly, swimming under the Golden Gate Bridge from SF to Marin). 

So, here’s to you, my beloved big bro. You were respected and admired for the goodness of your soul and your generosity and selflessness and brains and integrity. I hope to become more like you.

7″ x 6″ ink, watercolor on paper




watercolor and ink drawing of pear by emily weil

daily painting | solo pear

In between my Friday chores I pulled out my paints to do a quick study of the Bosc pear in my fruit bowl (before I devoured it). More fun doing this than laundry, I tell ya. And a tonic after doing some writing this morning as part of my crunching through painful feelings regarding my relationship with my sister who died last Nov. As part of the wonderful support Death with Dignity in Seattle offers, the organization that helped my sister end her life, I joined the weekly support group Zoom sessions as a way to help work out my complicated feelings about my younger sister, and the facilitator suggested we write a letter to our lost loved one, and perhaps even try writing a response. So I did it this morning (I should buy stock in Kleenex® for god’s sake). I expressed anger. I wrote about frustrations with her as she resolutely refused to talk about what happened when we were kids and suffered violence at the hands of our raging dad (she was not on speaking terms with her feelings). I kind of let it all out on paper, and was a bit surprised at how much better I felt (I was thinking, OK, yeah, done this before); the response letter, which I also wrote, was loving and honest. Yes, her letter to me was imaginary. But very comforting and healing.

Grief just takes a big stiff steel brush and scrubs off the rusty bits, leaving me raw and roughed up. It is taking me more deeply into pain from a wretched family dynamic when I was small, and my heart is mending. Today I have a welcome opportunity to “go deep” and forgive and make peace with all this turbulence. Not a pleasant journey by any stretch. But I chose this pot-holed path and I think I can slough off part of my painful family’s legacy, and that’s a gift. Our brains, man. So complicated. So full of possibility.

8″ x 8″ ink, watercolor on paper = $85