Recently, I encountered an image on my co-worker’s computer screen that literally reached out and grabbed my soul.  It was an image of the one pictured here that was on display at the art gallery managed by the office where I work.  I asked her about the piece and was told that it was part of the exhibit coming down the next day.  Without consciously knowing why I was so drawn to this piece, I told her I really liked it and would go see it at lunch.  I did just that and looked at many paintings/drawings on display by a local artists guild.  I viewed the exhibit twice looking for this piece of art but couldn’t find it.  At the gallery desk, I picked up the exhibit postcard and there it was but it wasn’t on display.

I returned to the office feeling disappointed, thinking that it had been sold.  Upon further inquiry it hadn’t been sold but for some reason the artist decided not to display it in the exhibit. The artist was contacted and she agreed to bring “Reflections on the Afternoon” to the de-installation the next day.  I bought it without hesitation as I was even more moved by it in person and she offered a price just under the limit I told my husband I’d spend.  I wondered at my strangely driven behavior since I am not usually so obsessive about anything.  It didn’t hit me until after I returned to the office in the pouring rain and unwrapped the colored pencil drawing from the brown paper wrapping.  Suddenly I was struck, like a two by four between the eyes, with the Ah-Ha moment.  The reason occurred to me  and tears welled up in my eyes.  It reminded me of my mother who died three months ago.  Somehow this artist, Trish Emery, captured a moment in time in her living room that is simply beautiful.   On some level, the level of my soul, the image transcended reality and touched the part of me that has been grieving and aching, missing the mom I love so much.  Words can’t describe it but a picture can and that is the beauty of art.

The meaning I have derived from this visual encounter in the days since I hung it in my studio is multi-layered and I’m not sure I can sufficiently put it into words.  Anybody who knows me well, knows that I love blue and have collected many versions of pretty blue things, including vases.  I love to see light reflections in transparent blue objects and I am drawn to this color for unknown reasons.  Somehow the blue vase in the drawing, being a vessel, represents me (speaking metaphorically now).  The vase only shows the stems of the flowers resting in the water, not the actual blossoms.  To me water is the Source, symbolizing the Spirit, and inside the vessel of our bodies we can’t survive without it.

The pink hydrangea flower lying on the wooden cedar chest, not in the vase of water but outside of it, struck me as a vivid memory of mom’s funeral.  There were pink flowers all around her and she was wearing a pink flowered dress I remember well from her wearing it to my daughter’s wedding on Mother’s Day four years ago.  Mom loved pink flowers of any kind and this pink hydrangea reminded me of sitting on the hillside at her grave the day after she was buried, saying goodbye one last time before traveling south to go home.  Amidst the deer-eaten flower wreaths I picked a few pink flowers, a carnation and a rose, to take home as a memory of mom and our sad parting.  Somehow, the pink hydrangea in full bloom reflecting the ethereal Light is in an eternal state as I fully believe she is and she’s at peace.  Though she has left the vessel of her body she will forever be in full bloom in my heart and in the hearts of those who love her.

One early morning after writing about this in my journal I returned to my bed spent with emotions and fell asleep right away.  I dreamed about my mom and grandma who were walking towards me, smiling and talking to me.  I couldn’t make out their words and I strained to hear them.  I asked them “What are you up to?” but I must have said that aloud in my sleep because my husband woke me up and asked me if I was awake.  “I am now!” I said.  Hopefully, they will visit me again in a dream one day and I will hear the words they wanted to say.  I do know that since her death I have been unable to write and this beautiful work of art was a catalyst to help me express deep sorrow I’ve had to keep at bay in the midst of a busy summer and way too much going on that I have to keep myself together for day to day.  Sometimes grief just can’t be scheduled at my convenience and the unexpected triggers and memories serve the purpose of helping me heal.

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