"Art is to console those who are broken by life."
Vincent Van Gogh
Losing someone you love is one of the hardest things.
I lost both of my Grandparents Carmen and James in 2018. They were so much more to me than just Grandparents, they were role models each in their own special and amazing way. They taught me so much and I will never be able to express how much they meant to me. There are no words.
Grief is a complex thing, no one way to grieve is "right" no one is doing it "wrong". It is a unique and personal journey for every individual. A lot of people don't experience losing a loved one until later on in life. I am no stranger to lose when I was 5 years old I lost my father, so I know what it is like to have a huge love lose. The heavy feeling of longing and sadness the anxiety surrounding peoples casual conversations about family.
Losing him at such a young age I did not really understand death, I didn't know how to process it or what to do I became closed off and angry. However it made the bond with my Grandparents so much stronger , it made my Grandad double as a father figure to me. Which is why when they passed it broke me. I felt completely lost reliving my memories over and over again scared that their faces and voices would leave me. I could not get out of the darkness that I was in. I miss them every single day, it hasn't just gone away, the sadness, it will never go but it has sent me on a very unexpected journey. A journey where out of grief came beauty...
In 2019 I started painting for them they had always encouraged me from a young age to be creative. Getting paints, oil pastels and paint brushes as random gifts. That was my "talent" as they would say. Growing up I just thought, they have to say that I'm their Grand daughter! Regardless of this I thought do something for them, and started my painting. So I did, not really knowing what my style was or what the hell I was doing! Having never been to any kind of art school I was really just doing whatever came to me...
...Until I started painting flowers. I felt the love of painting return, which I hadn't had since I was a child. The flowers were based on the flowers found in their garden, the bold, bright and beautiful colours. I realised I was painting to honour them, they brought so much happiness into the world it just needs to be carried on. I sign all of my paintings with their initials as they are the reason behind my artwork, it is as much theirs as is mine. Now they are the reason behind even more smiles.
The flowers are not just based on their garden the more I painted them the more I realised they were my personal way of showing the progress I have made in my healing journey.
Flowers can come from a dark and cold winter and then emerges something beautiful. Different types of flowers and colours can mean different things to people, this is also what I love about painting them. For example, a cherry blossom tree (my favourite to paint) they are the start of spring, a new beginning, with all the hope and possibilities of a new year.... They last about as long as new year resolution though, but they are still so beautiful!
Painting has helped me on my journey so much more than I could have ever thought possible. Grief is personal to everyone, and this time my grief has lead me here.
I would love for more people to be able to share how they have managed their grieving journey. You are not alone.