I want to thank you for the beautiful picture you posted remembering my brother John. I have not been myself since he passed last week. Waves of emotions overcome me and I don’t know how to “be”. So much of how I define myself is through positive thought and optimism and I don’t have much of that going on right now. The chatter in my head has been negative towards myself, stuck in the “should haves” and “what ifs”. This doesn’t feel good and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone.
“Never forget that once upon a time, in an unguarded moment,
you recognized yourself as a friend.”
This is when grace found me. I haven’t thought that deeply about it until I listened to a two part interview with Elizabeth Gilbert on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday. Her words were grace to me. She said any voice that attacks you or speaks to you in a mean, judging tone is not your highest self. Deep down I believe this his but needed to hear it. She went on to say,
“Never waste your suffering.
Suffering without catharses is nothing but wasted pain.
Use your power, your thinking, your force, your wisdom and turn it into grace.
If you don’t transform from your pain,
you just suffered for nothing.”
I do not know what my brother’s death is here to teach me but I do know I am surrounded by grace and somehow acknowledging it helps me not feel so bad.
Grace to me is being surrounded by the unconditional love of family and friends who allow me to be and feel any way I want
Grace is every person who stopped by my parents house, called, brought food, baked, cleaned, said kind words about my brother and stood by them when they
most needed them.
Grace is coming back from NH and having a beautiful basket of flowers delivered from my neighbors
Grace is a lovely dinner prepared by my favorite red headed chef and sweet kittens to snuggle with.
Grace is a clean house
Grace is a meal in the fridge made with love so I don’t have
to think about cooking
Grace is a letter from a sweet friends sharing a similar journey, giving
me words of comfort.
Grace is every card, email, phone call and text message of love I have received.
Grace is as silly as having the TV series, Nashville to distract my thoughts
Grace is going through boxes of pictures with my family, remembering…
Grace is compassion for myself and others
Grace is being there for someone else when they are in pain
Grace is not being able to breathe and having your husband taking you on a boat ride
Grace is seeing a rainbow on that boat ride
Grace is walking on the beach with Brett listening to the wind and the waves, sharing a bottle of wine
Grace is seeing a cross made out of beach stones while walking on that beach
I couldn’t help but think the rainbow and cross were signs from John letting me know he was okay. Crosses were symbolic for him. He had one on his facebook profile page and also wore a cross around his neck. It came apart and had a scroll inside where he had several sentiments written. One was,
“I strive to be the best version of myself.”
I try to live by these words as well. My brother struggled in his life but had faith, optimism and the kindest heart. The truth is we all struggle sometimes and need each other to help lift us up. I am blessed to have so many people who do this for me. I can only hope at some point in John’s life I did this for him. I haven’t been ready to go back to my studio but needed to channel my heart into something and find a way to remember and honor my little brother. I decided to take his sentiment and create a reminder for myself. I played around with different lettering and layouts in my sketch journal.
These are a few pages from my journal.
I drew out a larger version on watercolor paper and will be adding color. I may do a few different versions and add some collage elements but this is what I have for now.
I just wanted you to know I will be okay. I am really sad right now but will strive to always be the BEST version of myself. This is all we can ever ask, right? I love you….
p.s. forever in my heart little J…