Day 18 Grieving Through Painting

It occurred to me yesterday that after talking with my therapist that the ups and downs I’ve been feeling on and off is grieving. We talked about so much. My dad. Music. My art. My space. Loneliness. All very real things. For months I was very angry, angry at people. Angry at my living situation. Angry at myself even for allowing this to happen. I’ve lived a rough and rugged ass life, and breaking down yesterday helped me realize that. And realization is what allows you to accept and let go.

Grieving can look different in many ways. For me I seem to get angry and then... just feel sad all the time. Even after a year has passed, I still grieve about my dad. I miss our talks and his never ending support. Even though he’s still with me in spirit and I can still talk to him through meditation... it’s just not the same. Not the same as holding his hand or hugging him. I never got to say goodbye.

As an artist and musician, I grieve for the lack of space I have to create. I have more space in this present moment than I’ve had in years to create, yet I don’t have what I need to make my soul sing. A big part of my artist routine is playing the piano. A good ol’ antique piano with missing tops of the keys, and a bit of a twangy sound from aged strings. One whose stain is chipping off and whose chamber is filled with cobwebs. After growing up with a piano, and even having access to them in college, the last few years I’ve been grieving for the lack of one in my life. Every time I hear the songs of a piano, my heart grieves. Some instances in the last few years I’ve had a short term access to a piano, like at Sea Quest in Oregon, though when I sat down to play I could play, yet that grief was so strong in my heart. I couldn’t bear it much.

When I was in Canada, I spent my afternoons outdoors relaxing with a journal. I didn’t ever write too much, as I wrote with a fountain pen on natural paper, a time consuming process. One day I sat down after working in the garden near the hummingbird feeder. I never experienced hummingbirds before, and they were such a treat in Canada. There were about a dozen hummingbirds that fought over the feeder everyday and you could sit right next to it and they’d still visit. Over the years I’ve come to realize that hummingbirds would visit with me when I experienced great amounts of grief. The first time I noticed this was after losing a friend in a car accident and a hummingbird would visit me every day in the yard. Anyways, I sat by the feeder and a message came to me.

Realize. Accept. Reflect. Let go.

There are so many places in life where you can use a phrase like this. For me right now, it’s with grief. I just realized what I was going through. Now, I can’t skip the middle steps, they are part of the journey. Even though it sucks, there’s always a positive way to experience less desirable emotions. Artists don’t create beautiful art from only a place of happiness. A lot of artists go through shit, and the art is what comes out of the shit. Like the lotus flower.

In the past writing helped me with things like this. I wrote a couple of books and that brought me joy in hard times. However, writing isn’t my go to right now. Painting is. I now know what I want to do for my next book, {(though it is a surprise! You’ll get to see bits and pieces of it as it comes together :)} and painting is a big part of it. Here’s what I ended up painting today, a little reminder for something so profound.




As I finish this post, I look out the window at the rest of the light for the day. Leigh decorated the windows in the living room with hearts. The bottom left window is a heart frame, little hearts making up a big heart. I am reminded of my dad, that he is always here with me and always watching, when I look through that heart and his truck peeks right in the center of it. He reminds me that he loves and believes in me, and to keep moving forward, even though times are tough. And in this dark time, it comforts me to be okay with feeling the way I do.

I love you guys,

Ashley

Day 18, 251 days to go.

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