In the six years since one of our sons died unexpectedly, I have gradually learned that grief is like an ocean. Strong emotion ebbs and flows like the tide. When I feel sad (or angry or overwhelmed), I have learned that the best way to survive is to not fight the “wave” but to acknowledge it and make time to let it wash over me. This seems to work…most of the time.
This past month, I was hit with a wave of grief that threatened to drown me. It came out of seemingly nowhere, like a rogue wave that does damage. It came in the midst of happy changes in our family–this son moving to another state for grad school, that future son-in-law moving here to be near our daughter, another daughter home from overseas for the summer, and a first grandbaby on the way. Somehow, even with all the happy, I was overwhelmed with sadness and anger. Eventually I realized, ohhh, I’m missing the one son I will never see on earth again.
I find that art can be a HUGE help in putting my emotional world “to rights.” During my recent struggles, an artist friend, Greg Gutierrez, posted a new series of three paintings that he named “Walking in Victory.” The title called out to me, and the vibrant joy and energy in the paintings were just what I needed. I was reminded to look for the victory and to keep walking forward, even if I could only manage baby-steps for now. One of these paintings is now hanging on the wall in my sitting area–a reminder for the days when waves of grief return.
Greg believes that “paintings choose their owner” … and I’m SO glad this painting called out to me. It makes my heart sing, even on the difficult days. Thanks, Greg! Your work is helping me to “Walk in Victory.”
Please check out more of Greg’s wonderful work (including a recently published book) on his website www.greggutierrez.com
The portraits of me were taken by a wonderful photographer in Britain. Please check out Jo’s beautiful work on her website http://joblackwellphotography.co.uk/