Thursday, February 26, 2015

Dear Departed Drawings ~ Lucia 07

I wanted to draw this photo of Lucia because this photo spoke to me.  The clay sculpture next to Lucia.  Angie writes on her Still Life with Circles blog:

"So I asked my sister to pull out my Meditating Mama—a statue I made of a pregnant woman meditating. It was to be my birthing focus point, and I made her when I was about 24 weeks along. Molded out of deep red Mexican clay, she was cross-legged with hands encircling belly. She sat front and center in my house as I practiced prenatal yoga, as I meditated, and as I imagined birthing Lucia, and the amazing life she would live. Now, she was sitting in front of me in this hospital room; all my hopes gone. I could barely look at my statue which once meant potential, beauty, calmness."

And the statue is just beautiful.  And as Lucias mother held her for the first time: 

"As I held her, I called Debbie over and asked her if she could do me a favor. She said anything. I asked if I could donate my Meditating Mama to the hospital’s Birthing Suites where natural childbirth happens. I couldn’t look at her again, and maybe another mama can birth life into this world with her. Debbie thanked me."

This mama was not only leaving behind her baby but the clay statue she made with all her good intentions and hopes for her daughters precious life.  I knew I was going to include the clay mama when I saw it in the photo with Lucia.

Today I worked mostly on the Meditating Mama statue and a bit more on Lucias face, trying to figure out shadows and highlights - getting the tones just right.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Dear Departed Drawings ~ Lucia 06

Today I completed my 365 days of drawing, turned Dear Departed Drawings.  Koles portrait is complete.  I'm always a bit sad at the end.  Thankfully all of my drawing subjects visit my meditations from time to time.  During my meditations before drawing Lucia I've noticed my dear friend Houd is the one that brings Lucia to me.  He is usually holding Violet in group meditations I attend fairly regularly.  I love that he is the one taking care of the littles.  When I started Kole, Neil was the one holding Koles hand and leading him to me in the meditations.  I have full intentions of completing drawings for my Aunt and Uncle, Nan and Pap, Grandma and Grandpa and even my friend Paul (Poppa) as well as our friend Joel.  They are older souls and once during a group meditation nodded me on to complete the babies, younger children and family with the most grief first.  I choose the next drawing by intuition.  At this point I feel after Lucia will be my Aunt and Uncle.  They've been waiting and I miss them so.  They were like second parents to me.  They always offered kind words, advice, discipline and love.  I have so many loved ones in heaven, some days I can't wait to get there.

Today I worked on Lucias hat (all those lines on Violets brother and Neils brothers shirts made for great practice) and on her face a bit more.  She grows more beautiful by the day.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Dearly Departed Drawings ~ {day 400} ~ Trees and Tents with Kole

This boy.

I was sitting in my office at work in June 2008 doing paperwork and chatting with a coworker.  I don't remember how the subject got brought up,  but it did.  My coworker (also a friend) started telling me about her friend, Renee.  How she has this darling son.  The cutest, sweetest little boy.  I remember her telling me they found a tumor in his chest.  I remember her asking me to send positive vibes, prayers, good thoughts to this family.  My coworker would give me the updates weekly or even sometimes daily on Koles progress.  I knew all about this boy and his family.  Then the day came when this darling boy left our earth in January 2009.  My friend and coworker, coincidentally resigned from her position at my workplace just months later.  We haven't really spoken much since then.  

I was scrolling through my Facebook feed in September 2014 and a picture of a little boy showed up.  I dismissed it and kept scrolling.  This photo just kept popping up in my feed - for days.  I did not recognize the little boy, but I happened to see Renees name and memories started flooding back.  I DO know this little boy.  This is the little boy I heard so much about so long ago.  It was believable he is the little boy I had prayed for all those days.  Renee and I have some mutual friends and acquaintances, although we had not crossed paths prior.  I knew Kole was to be the last in my Dearly Departed Drawings.  I set about contacting his mother about drawing him.  Renee connected with me over Kole and since then I have read all about Koles journey, Renees journey.  Renee has shared some of her most private moments with me.  As I poured through photos of Kole, this one just sang out to me.  Loud and profound, full of emotion.  This is the photo I had hoped to draw.  It was not to be.  This photo was taken in June 2008, just a day before the tumor was found.  The memories are not of a happy time, but rather - regret.  "His eyes had huge bags and he had a grapefruit sized tumor in his chest and I couldn't figure it out. He was dying and I didn't know it because he was smiling. By the next day he couldn't breathe... "   

This portrait is my grand finale of my 365 days of drawing turned into Dear Departed Drawings. So far it is also the most detailed drawing of all five.  I also felt the most doubt, not just in my abilities but just the act of sharing Koles story.  I questioned the emotions I would trigger for Renee and many other people by reliving the days of Koles medical journey.  I received enough confirmation to know this drawing and Koles story was to be shared.

The photo Renee chose for me to draw was of Easter morning March 2008. Kole is 16 months old.

 "It was taken not long before we knew he was sick. he was always a joy in the mornings. he often woke up on his own and just played in his bed. he had done that on this morning, I awoke and could hear him in there talking to himself. so I got up and went to the fridge and got the eggs and started hiding them. I was eager to watch him search. I grabbed my camera and walked into his room with his basket to get him. It was cold outside so I hid the eggs inside. I just loved his face in the mornings."  

I asked Renee if she wanted to share on reveal day.  This is what she wrote for us.
Renee gets the last word:

"It has been a difficult season. Fall settles into a cold winter freeze that doesn't seem to leave my heart until spring. Every year passes and I go through my grief cycle. June- Koles diagnosis. July August September and October are like months of hope for me. Kole thrived. He surpassed the odds of continuing to grow and develop an astounding vocabulary and intelligence beyond his years while being inundated with the most toxic chemicals we as humans put in our bodies (willingly?). I love summer and fall for this very reason. I feel connected to my son and to hope itself. November- his birth. A season of sadness as Thanksgiving approaches (Kole deteriorated) and then Christmas (we weren't sure he would make it through the holiday). I kept praying he would stay. He would be with me and hold me into the New Year. He did. I prayed he'd be there to see my 29th birthday in February. He didn't. 

On Saturday January 10th, 2009, I got down on my knees, alone, beside Kole's bed, listening to him barely breathing and seeing what looked like a science project monster of what my child used to be. Kole hadn't eaten or drank in days and his kidneys and liver were shutting down. I screamed. On my knees. I'm certain the whole Hem-Onc unit heard my pleas. I couldn't take it one moment longer. Kole SHOULDNT have to take this one moment longer. He was tired. I was tired. I asked a God PLEEEEEASE!!!!! Please if you're planning on taking my only sweet child, please take him now. Soon. I broke. I gave in. I gave up. I didn't want to see Kole suffering any longer. I remember not being able to fall asleep after my breakdown in the hospital room. Light broke into the window of his room on the morning of Sunday January 11th, 2009, and I saw snow falling peacefully outside. I knew it was soon. I called everyone I could and told them if they wanted to see Kole one last time they needed to come. Come NOW. They did. Everyone who was an important part of Kole's life was there in the room with us. I decided I had had ENOUGH of not being able to hold my son, and I asked for help. Everyone pitched in and helped push and pull tubes out of the way and adjusted monitors so I could scootch-in under my son's limp, heavy body and embrace him like he deserved to be embraced. I remember placing his head under my chin, wrapping my arms around his chest, and feeling his small cold legs between mine. I clenched his body and felt his barely-there breaths. I wept. I prayed. I talked to him. I whispered softly, "Oh my sweet sweet boy. It's okay. It's okay. It's going to be okay. Mommy and daddy love you so very much. And it's okay. If there's someone here to take you away somewhere (my dad, his pappy had just passed away 10 months prior), (Jesus), (some other spirit guide/greeters), then go with them. It will be okay. We will see you again Kole. I love you Kole. You're a good boy Kole. It's okay. It's okay. It's okay." I stroked him and tried to take in the smell of him. Rubbed my face in what was left of his hair. Smooched my face into his cheeks. Kissed his fuzzy ears. Held his cold hands. Felt his chest go up and down one more time above me. Then it stopped. Everyone in he room gasped and sucked the air out of the room. His eyes opened. "His eyes are open!" Everyone exclaimed. He was gone. 

I completely lost my composure and we got everyone to leave the room. This was how I lost my son. This is why the calendar year is so very hard for me. I hate January and I hate the winter months in general. I hate cancer. I blogged the whole way through our journey and it touched many lives. Kole touched many in his short 26 months here on earth. After the "dust settled" my husband became addicted to pain medication and lost his mental stability. I tried to move on with my life as best I could. I dove into my career, moved to Philadelphia and found out in 2011 that my ex husband had unsuccessfully hung himself. I got brought back into trauma. I distanced myself from his situation to save myself. It took three years and over $7000 but I got the divorce finalized and was able to feel a freedom I hadn't felt in years. I'm in a wonderful relationship now, almost 5 years, to the man I plan on spending the rest of my life with. And not sure if any more children are in my future. This has been a tough pill to swallow. This life. I contemplate having more children. I have to examine the opposite possibility as well, that I may not. I've had to reflect deeply on what this means for me. My mothering instinct is so hearty, would I be satisfied with this life if Kole was the only child I was meant to have? I weighed it out. Pregnancy was amazing. I actually loved being pregnant. I felt so connected to the universe. As if fulfilling a duty. Kole was something special. I enjoyed every day with him. I lived for him. He taught me more in his 26 months here than any other experience I've had in my life. He made me happier than I've ever been in my life. If he were to be my only, would he be enough? I decided he would be. He was. If he is the only child I'll get to experience while on this Earth I will feel forever grateful. Would I enjoy having another child? Sure. You bet. Although it would be a mix of absolute elation and absolute terror. I will embrace it if it happens. I will not lay on my death bed with regret if it doesn't. My heart tells me adoption may be up my alley for the future..... 

This season is a difficult one. Amanda Johnson made it more bearable for me this year. I was contacted about a portrait and was hesitant. I had buried this for years. I don't look at videos and pictures much because it hurts. It was a real task for me when I was asked to pick a picture of Kole to be drawn. That meant unearthing the last 5 years. I realized it was time. I faced the pictures and videos with more grace than I expected. I even smiled. I SMILED. I especially smiled when I saw the picture of Kole on Easter morning that would be the replication. I knew this one was it. I could see it in his eyes. Amanda brought Kole to life before my eyes. Every day I actually looked FORWARD to seeing the progress. I was looking forward to seeing my son. I wasn't trying to avoid it. I made a lot of progress as she made progress on the drawing. It was very healing for me. I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart. I am happy to share my story here and hope that anyone reading who has a similar situation in life or is struggling with pain and grief, cancer, or the loss of child, please get in touch with me. It feels so good to be able to talk and share and work through it. That is, when you're ready. I avoided writing this final farewell because it was almost like the end of a healing process for me. But all good things must come to an end. Kole came to me veerrryyyyy strongly in my dreams last night. I felt like I spent the whole night with him when I woke up this morning. Too bad the whole dream was in the hospital, but I'll take it. I think he's telling me I can do this. He kept saying "Mommy!" "Mommy!" I think he was telling me something. So there you go sweet boy. Mommy loves you and always will. I can't wait to see you."

The first day of Koles drawing and the start of his journey.....Day 324.


Listen for it..... 
"Momma!!??!??!" Jane - "she's coming!" "What is my momma doing today?!?!"

Time Lapse

Remembering Kole

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Dear Departed Drawings ~ Lucia 05

Today I darkened some tones on Lucias face and worked to outline in her blanket.  She is just stunning and beautiful.  I constantly feel the urge to draw her as I did with Leigh

At the same time I met Lucias mother I also discovered Sweet Pea Project at the book signing, poetry reading for To Linger on Hot Coals.  An AMAZING organization that does wonderful things for bereaved families.  I promptly read Still.  As a mother, it was one of the most profound books I have ever read about the loss of a child.  Full of love, heartbreak, frustration, sadness, I shed tears almost the entire way through.

I hope by posting about these books that it may help someone else find these wonderful resources out there for grieving mothers, families, grandparents.  There is nothing more important than knowing how to support someone after the loss of a child or knowing you aren't alone.  I am so grateful there is a whole community of women out there that have paved the way and provide comfort.  It restores my hope in humanity.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Dear Departed Drawings ~ Lucia 04

Lucias mama, Angie and I crossed paths again six months later online.  That day I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and saw on her healing page that she was offering tarot card pulls to the first 10 responders.  *hand raise*  I posted the card she pulled and her explanation on the blog that day.  After that insightful day we again crossed paths at the MUM expo a few weeks later in passing.  I didn't find out about Lucia until October 15th 2014 when Angie posted a photo of her altar for Dia de Los Muertos.  Which by the way I had not really seen one prior to this.  The day of the dead intrigues me and I love the concept.  I've always loved the skulls and beautiful decorations but after Lucias mama posted the photo I immediately started researching the history.  I love this particular sites explanation.  I then contacted Angie directly in December as Lucias birthday December 22nd approached.  She led me to her blog Still Life with Circles where I read about Lucia.  Immediately immersed with Lucia and her story.  I grieved right along with Angie.  And then I knew Lucia was to be after Kole. 

Completed some shading on Lucia today.  I admit I have no idea what I'm doing using Lucias birth photo and her baby brothers baby photos to fill in the missing pieces.  I do know that she is beautiful.  I feel what I am doing is right.  I have permission from Lucias mother to keep going and I know all is right with the world.  Except Lucia and many other babies aren't standing here with us.  I'm sorry.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Dear Departed Drawings ~ Lucia 03

This is a very unique portrait.  Dear little Lucia departed this world at 38 weeks in her mothers womb. December 21, 2008.  The skin is so delicate and fragile that just hours after departure babies skin starts to soften, peel and turn red.  While I cannot physically breathe life back into baby Lucia, I can omit the discolorations and peeling on her skin so we can all see how stunning and perfect she is.  I will be using photos of her and her new baby brother as a reference.  He is gorgeous and looks just like his big sister Lucia - perfect.  She is simply beautiful.

I met Lucias mother, Angie, almost exactly one year ago - March 8, 2014.  I attended a poetry reading and book signing at Mulberry Art Studios for To Linger on Hot Coals.  I was there for Violet and her mother, Devany who was reading her poetry and one of the authors signing books.  I went by myself, sat alone and immersed myself in the baby loss community while listening to strong women express their emotions.  It took my breath away.  After the readings, four of the poetry contributors gathered to sign books, answer questions and offer support.  I felt really awkward, it was my first time meeting Violets mother and being inside the studio.  While I was busy blending in with my surroundings I kept feeling drawn to Lucias mother, Angie, from the first minute I saw her.  I too was feeling grief and felt very at home with all these grieving families because it was six days after the first anniversary of my dear friend Houds death.  We spoke just a handful of words between us that day. 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Dear Departed Drawings ~ Lucia 02

Just putting the base of lines and rudimentary shading onto the paper. 

I am super excited about this portrait.  I knew when I first saw her mother our fates were meant to be intertwined.  I had no idea it would be in this way. 

Divine Life Purpose

Repeating nines today.  The end.  But also clearing the way to fully pursue my Divine Life Purpose, my Soul Mission.  Fully devoting myself.  Excited even. 

References of Interest:

Angel Numbers

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

365 days of drawing Addyson Aegirine Aldies Review Alice all purpose cleaner Alta View Wellness Center Angel Numbers Angie Yingst Animal Symbolism Apartment life Are You Experienced art Art reading Aura Photo Aura Photography Backcombing Bacon recipe Bacon wrapped chicken Balloonport Beach Life Beach Life Series Because I hate Abbreviations Best Bone-in Chicken recipes Beverly Stephan Bissell Proheat Carpet Cleaner Blessingway Bone-in Chicken Borax recipes Brussel Sprouts Camp Innabah Candy Drawer Carnies Carnival Series Carpet shampooer Catering Chakra Photo Chakra Photography chicken recipe christmas cookie recipe Christmas craze Christmas Shoe box clairvoyant Cleaning Recipes Collective Consciousness colored pencil Conner Cookie recipe Coupons crafts with toilet paper roll Cremation Ashes cremation glass memorial bead Crew Crystal grids Crystal Healing Crystal Therapy Crystal uses Crystals and Minerals Darn it. Dear Departed Drawings Departed Dinner Recipe DIY Down to Earth Wear drawing drawing of a bulb syringe drawing of a snot sucker Drawing of a zombie drawing of an astronaut Drawing of feet drawing of genesee beer drawing of ghastly beer Drawing of Jimi Hendrix Dread bead Dreadie decorations Dreadies Dreadlock Methods Dreadlocks Dreads Dream Catcher Dustin Middaugh Eggleston Hall Engroff Epicurean Delight Evolution of a Drawing Video Family Family Vacation Feeding your family on a budget Feel the wind on your face Fels naptha recipes floor cleaner Food Coma Friend Frugal Shopping Gardening Glass Blowing glass dread bead grandma's cookie recipe Grandpa graphite drawings Hair Handmade Hape twist and turnables Hardiness zones map Harpers Ferry Healer Healing Herman Heroin Robbed Me HK Pinwheel Packs Holiday shopping holiday shuffle home home for the holidays home school Homemade Carpet Cleaner Solution Homemade frenzy Homemade powdered laundry detergent Homeschool Preschool hot air balloon chase crew Hot Air Ballooning Houd House Faery Thefts Humanitarianism Hyperrealism Insecurities Jack Daniels Distillery Tour Joel kids crafts Kings Fresh Meats Review Kole Kombucha Lancaster balloonport last minute Christmas shopping LeDrew crew Leigh Leigh D Baxter Life Life Purpose lithium quartz Little light Living with Strangers Lost shiny trinkets Love Lucia Married life Maryland Meditation Mineral Uses Monster Paintball MOPS Mothers of Preschoolers Moving Moving to a new house Mr. Kromer MUM Expo My Crystals and Minerals Mystic Native American Rituals Natural Healer Neil New house New Moon Circle new year resolution new years resolution Nines Numerology Obsessive Compulsive Disorder OCD Ocean Beach Spirit Cleansing Ceremony Ocean City Ocean City Maryland On the Road Again One Love Operation Christmas Child Pacific Northwest Glassblowing Packing Packing up your house for a move paint Parenthood Pencil Drawings Pennsylvania Dutch Pot Pie Pennsylvania Dutch Sand tarts photo realism Planting zones map Poppa. portrait drawing Portrait of Cosmo Portrait of Dustin Middaugh Portrait of Houd Portrait of Leigh D Baxter Prettying up Dreadies Reithoffer Show Renting Rides Roasted Parmesan Brussel Sprout Recipe Samaritans Purse Sevens Sideshows Smaller Dreads spiritual awakening spiritual experience Stick a screw driver in my eye Still Life with Circles Still Playing School Still. Summer fun Super washing soda recipes Survivor Mama Susquehanna Valley Balloon Company Sweet Pea Project Sweet Pea Sisters and Brothers Picnic Tarot Card Reading Tea tree essential oil Tennessee The Beach The Moon + Stone Healing The Pier The Walking Dead Things to do in Nashville Thinner Dreadlocks tissue paper hearts To Linger on Hot Coals Traveling Twist and Rip Twizzlers U-Haul uses for vinegar Valentines day craft Violet Wax Hands wax museums Wedding West Virginia WV year in review Your Inner Light