Saturday, June 25, 2011

Some Thoughts on Art & Grief

As I've spent some time this past month with other baby loss mamas and browsed many sites online, I could not help but notice the art used to grieve. There are photos, drawings, painting, sculptures, jewelry, poetry ... and many more! I'm not certain I really understand the healing connection between art and grief, but for me its has been a blessing to see my angels' names used in some beautiful art and it has inspired me to use my angels' names.
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In many forms of art we need to work with our hands. Be it molding or drawing or painting or forming or beading ... there seems to be something soothing about our hands being "at work". And then when we can sit back and look at the piece of art there is a sense of accomplishment or completion. For me, at least, there is something therapeutic about finishing something, completing something beautiful. Perhaps because there was a beautiful little life that I miss, that did not get to be finished ... we never got to see the finished product of the baby we so loved and wanted.

Several years ago when my sister, Missy, passed away I spent hours and hours beading Psalm 23 bracelets because just weeks before her passing she had given me a handmade Psalm 23 bracelet. In those hours that I could not sleep, in those times my mind just could not make sense of anything I was able to "do" something, "make" something, complete something. I think it was also helpful that I was continually repeating the 23rd Psalm over and over as I made the bracelets. Last month, when we learned that the baby I was carrying had died I was crushed, grief stricken and I struggled to accomplish much of anything. Especially during those restless hours in the middle of the night I felt a need to keep my hands busy, so I pulled out my bags of beads. I began to string bead after bead and make bracelet after bracelet. It was busy work I suppose, but not so complicated that I had to concentrate very hard. My mind could reel and my hands could keep working ... something therapeutic about that for me. Through a "God-sidence" I learned to make adorable little beaded angels just after we lost Journey and now I have spent many hours beading angels for other baby loss moms. I have begun to call them my Journey Angels ... they remind me of our sweet baby Journey, but I also hope they will bless each mom's journey as she grieves and heals.

I know I could start a whole other post about this but I feel I should mention that my husband does not grieve this way ... if I had tried to get him involved in beading or anything crafty he would not have found it therapeutic or helpful. Each person will process through grief in their own way, in their own time. There will be things that are helpful to some but cumbersome to others. I hope you find what works for you ... find what helps you.

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