Love is not glamorous

(Look closely)

Have you ever felt like you wanted a fresh start but the people you love won’t let you? Tough right? Sometimes despite our best efforts to keep our eternal child alive, life has a way if pulling back the veil and showing you something different. The amazing thing is that tapping into gratitude can bring it back.

I would not have connected to people had I not experienced intense struggle and loss. I liken my grief to coming back from war. However, during cancer I worked through alot. I am glad I did because it prepared me greatly for her passing. When I returned to my journals documenting the experience and the last moments of her life, I realized so much was about my surrender. It was a surrender not thinking I would lose her, but surrender to her life being out of my control. Letting go of being her “mother” desperately trying to save her life I became her greatest support. I was able to see her light shine as a gift to the world.

Many of my journals reflect so much of my own inner struggles about my daughter’s cancer and less about the actual treatment. I was convinced she was a soul that could decide to stay if we found perfect balance and peace and harmony in our home. Whenever she got sicker or something did not take I felt it was because we did not try hard enough. However, for the trajectory of her life, she was living her course.

During cancer we were a family of the nuts and bolts. We learned to make the best of things and to lean on each other. My job mainly being to create normalcy in our lives and my husband’s job of making sure we had everything covered financially.

Neither role was glamorous. Both of them difficult.

I also had no sympathy for my husband. Intellectually I did. However, the fight and the worry took all the energy from us.

I remember thinking later, after her death he is still here. I am still here. Why? Love. Not duty. Duty is holding up our end of the bargain, but love is the inexplicable thing that keeps you showing up when you want to give up. I also challenge the notion of “support” during a difficult situation. Sometimes staying in the game and remaining present speakes volumes in terms of support. It shouts I am here. I never drank after she died. I stopped at some point in the journey long before because I realized I did not need it. I find that interesting because I was in an intense situation. I knew intuitively alcohol and focus would not mix. Also, nothing would take away the pain. Facing it and using faith and meditation to get through it gave me a strength I never possessed before. “I will not die. I am loved.”

Ever stop to think that all things are truly working for you good? I believe they are. I would say in the simplest form, without the grand declaration of an intention, the universe is for you. The course of your life, my life, and all of our lives is to recieve love.

I went through great tragedy to feel the liberation of love. As I mentioned before, the last year of my daughter’s life I was on a heavy spiritual journey. My sole purpose was to show up for her and love her. I had a great mission of seeing her smile and comfortable. Love has this sacrificial element that I feel is discouraged these days.

I ask again, who shows up for you in your life?

Learn. From. Time.

That was a centrigal theme I discovered while creating this found art peace I created in an hour to get in touch with my soul.

I knew while completing just the small task that I could see more clearly the cycle of life. Possibly, what I struggled with the most deeply. I also had the gentle reminder to never stop believing.

Love endures all things. Hopes all things. Love in the midst of uncertainty is a very radical act.

Who do you love?

Create a collage. Grab some materials. Write on it words that are meaningful and see what you come up with in an hour. Be open. Loving. Don’t judge.

Until then, let’s lift each other up in love.

The Ennui of Relationship

I began this collage with a sketch from a photograph of me and my husband while in a really bad place in our relationship. I hate to say, “bad place” as if that is a static moment. It was one of those moments of ennui and I was trying to just feel. So I grabbed a picture. A very old picture of us and began to sketch. Let me also say, we do not look anything at all like the two people in this sketch. However, I would offer up that the subconscious was working in that moment as it always is. In many ways I sketched our essence. Two weary people, lost a child, he isn’t the prize fighter of the day anymore but she sure looks happy.

I also found it interesting that in my picture, the woman looks way happier and the man looks way more weary. Could that be Spirit sending a message?

I began to feel a little less restless in this moment. I don’t think when I make art. I allow it to help me. It is an interesting medium in which I have no control but get all the answers I need if I keep going back to look at it.

Some relationships are harder than others for different reasons. But really, isn’t it like a game of last man standing? Also, like anything else in this life who will you find to encourage you in that? In seeking your whisper?

The Bible is awesome. But God is bigger. How do I know? While spending 18 months in and out of the hospital praying for life and not attending church I found God. That is a story for another time, but I say that to say access the divine.

I wrote on my picture “hear with your soul.” Sounds romantic right? Well, what if your marriage is looking very different than the picture and bombs are dropping and guns are firing etc…

My daughter looked great. I prayed. I fasted. People said she would be healed. For a time I knew she was. Then one moment, although she looked fantastic, I knew I would lose her. I just knew it. So I lived. I tried to fight it but I respected her life as her. Like I was once a child that would grow. So was she. Except she did not, but she was still a person. Gary Zukav didn’t need to tell me that. I just looked in her eyes.

The soul knows what to do. Get your paint. Get your paper. Get a magazine, scissors and glue. What is your heart telling you today? Take 30 min to 1 hour on this creative exercise. I would love to see.

Your soul knows….

Until then let’s hold space for each other. Let’s heal together. Let’s continually lift each other up in love.

Chiara

Heal Thyself With ART

It is coming up on the two year anniversary of the date that my daughter was diagnosed with ATRT. ATRT is a rare form of a brain cancer that is found mainly in children and has a very poor prognosis. It is extremely aggressive and as I said it is extremely rare. You either have a genetic disposition or bad luck. My daughter was the latter case. She was three years old when she was diagnosed in November of 2015. She went on to have had 18 beautiful months of life after her diagnosis some in the hospital and a lot out of the hospital and with her family. However none of it without a lot of worry and anxiety and pain. Sadly, she passed away at home on August 4, 2017. As you can imagine for a mother who lost her only daughter very recently this is still a journey, however, this is not a tormented one at all. I am not broken. I am however, different.
This post is not about that in a sense. However, it is about the magical mystery of self healing if you are open to it. Her life, her journey, and our journey together as a family is what compelled me to start this blog. Helping a child fight cancer I imagine is very different than helping an adult. My daughter wore her princess dress all through her treatment, never complained, and was generally all smiles. She taught me a lot about courage and living life to the fullest. She taught me about facing life with a smile even in your darkest circumstances.
I was the only one to hold her when she was having her final moments. I would not have had it any other way as her mother. Holding her in my arms I could tell that the child that I knew her as had left a very long time ago, and that she was all spirit in my arms, and so much of that spirit was going back and forth between her and I. It was flowing back and forth and during that time she was filling me with everything.
I noticed that even a child, a very small human being goes on to the other side alone. They come in to the world alone and they go out alone. What I am most comforted by is that she did not suffer at all. In that very moment there was not any fear to be had, only love.
In the days leading up to her passing I had spoken to her and gotten many things off of my chest. I would encourage anyone to do this if they have a sick child. I asked for forgiveness. If I had failed her as a mother in anyway. I ran down the whole line. All the small and big things I could remember and she would squeeze my finger. When she stopped squeezing I told her I loved her and we would always be together and she could go. She didn’t go immediately. Don’t let doctors or Hospice or anyone rush your loved one off either. They know with the Divine when they are ready. My daughter is with me. I feel no brokenness. Her mission with her family is being carried out. I honor it every day. She was a truly creative soul. Before Calais passed away I made art casually. I also made it with the kids at school or with Calais and her Art therapist. I love the work of the Art therapist. I think what they do is very special. Now I make art like she did every single day and colors fill my home. Art is such a huge part of my healing. Art is life. It does not take a lot to grab a pad a paint brush and let your subconscious go to work for you and begin to create. I encourage you to create. Hang that art on your wall. Spend 30 minutes each day drawing. Spend 30 minutes each day doing a craft and filling your house with colors and seeing the change that shaping your environment with art does for your well-being. That is what this blog is about. That is what my daughter’s legacy is about. She was ahead of her time for such a small child and she lived and breathed art and creativity and left all of that behind with us. This is something that I want to share with you. Send me a photo of what you are doing. What inspires you? What you are working on? Grief and Loss can be a new beginning not the end. It can open the door and be a portal to your loved one for open communication to the divine to explore purpose, healing, community, closure. The portal here is art. From there you may go on to do other things. Find a local Art Therapist if you can and start connecting. If you cannot. You will find things here as I build my daughter’s foundation. Let’s connect. Let’s hold space for each other. Be well together. Let’s continually lift each other up in love. Until next time.

Chiara