One year ago today—March 13, 2014--- we lost our second pregnancy, our daughter named Poppy. The story was the same as our first daughter Daisy. They were healthy babies, my body just couldn't hold them in. My cervix failed my baby and during her 20th week and she was born too early. I was strong and brave through her birth, and then at our final goodbye I felt my heart go numb.
I was in shock and the grief didn't hit me till she was physically from our presence. The grief in the following weeks was the most difficult time of my life, it was dark and scary. I knew this would happen, I had been through it once before, but now the grief seemed to compile. The morning after we lost her, I looked out the hospital window to watch the sun come up and thought to myself, “The hardest part is living each day without her.” I took a picture of that sunrise. To me, this scene was a reminder. Poppy was born at night, and here the new day was coming. The world did not stop, even though ours felt still. That sunrise symbolized the beginning of our grieving process. It was also a symbol of hope, that light will be found in our life again once healing takes place.
Their short lives each taught me something different, and I try to remember that. My daughters inspired me to serve others while grieving, find a way to give others hope, and to find the light again in my life. One of the ways they inspired me was to create the “Wishing Tree” a community art project I started on Poppy’s due date in July 2014. I used the only tree in my front yard to hang my wishes on white tags, and invited my community to do so as well on our tree. Before too long our tree was full of white tags with heartfelt, and personal wishes. This act alone, of others participating in my art project, helped me to heal. Art is powerful, it can and does heal the heart, mind, and soul.
The first year after a loss is incredibly difficult, it has been a journey from darkness into light. As this day passes, it marks more progress in my healing, more light in my life, and more dedication to my art. When I have hard days or self-doubt I think about my daughters, and how they would want me to keep creating art because with each piece it has a little of them in it too. All my life experiences—as with any creative—directly influences the work I create, whether conscious or not. Remember this next time when you view or even collect artwork. Art is the visual story of a person’s soul whether seen or sensed, it is there. This is the most powerful aspect of art, the human experience interacting with creativity. Truly the heart, mind, soul, and life experiences of one person comes together in a work of art and shows the struggle, joy, errors, and thoughts of creating.
I share my personal story with you today not to make you sad or gain pity, but that you may know the influence of art in my life, the healing it has brought, and part of my life experience that influences my work--My Daughters.
Special Thanks to Sarah Savage Photography for the photos to commemorate Daisy and Poppy as well as filming and editing the official Wishing Tree Video.