I wrote in last week’s post that I wasn’t sure what my new project would look like and that I would share it as I go. I didn’t realize how soon it would begin.
Around the time I added the early details about Art Through Fertility on my website, I came across a beautiful and heartbreaking blog written by an amazing woman named Katie Duke. Last October, the day after her due date, she and her husband lost their sweet baby girl to stillbirth. Her name was Poppy Annabelle.
On her blog, Katie is courageously sharing her experience of losing Poppy in hopes to help others and herself deal with the emotions that come with grief and loss. I was struck by her beautiful writing. She has the rare talent to put words to a raw experience in an authentic and poetic way. She is also rare in that she’s talking openly about something that so many people try to manage alone.
People tend to be private when we’re suffering in any way. We share mostly positive experiences, celebrations and happy moments, which is even more magnified on social media. When your physical and online environments are reflecting all of the “pretty” things about life, it’s easy to forget that challenges and suffering are not only normal, they’re an important part of the human experience. The strange thing is, the more private we become in our suffering, the more I think we can prolong our suffering. I know this. I do this, and it’s something I’m actively working on.
There’s also something profound in that idea that we’re not alone. However scary and isolating your situation may be, there is someone else who is going through it. But how will we know that if we don’t talk about it? The reward of opening up is that we can connect in more meaningful ways and turn our suffering into strength. I think that’s what makes Katie’s blog especially powerful and important. She’s stepping out and giving others permission to do the same, to let them know they’re not alone, and opening herself up to more sources of strength and connection. She’s making it okay to share some really hard stuff because it is okay! It’s necessary.
I was obviously very inspired by Katie and decided to reach out to her to see if she’d be willing to work with me on this project. She responded that she would (!) and we’ve been able to spend some time since getting to know each other. She is exactly the strong, creative lady you’d imagine while reading her writing. I’m honored that she wants to be a part of this project.
Over the next week, Katie is going to think about a couple of colors that speak to her and maybe look at a few color samples. She’s also going to think about a couple of colors that she’d rather not see in the painting. Her choices will help me get to know what inspires her and think about how I’ll work to capture her story and, of course, I’ll also be adding my own colors and elements.
We’ll plan to talk again next week when I will learn a bit more about her journey and start working on her painting. Because I think having these kinds of conversations can be difficult, or bring up more grief or pain (but will hopefully also be cathartic as a result), I decided to keep our first conversation to 30 minutes. I’m not sure if this will be long enough but, for now, it seems right.
Katie is graciously willing to me write about this process as we go through it so I’ll share more next week. In the meantime, go check out Katie’s blog, offer her support and love. And whether or not you’ve been through something similar, I hope it inspires you too to share your hard news equally with your good news.
If you want to hear about this project as it happens, via email, you can sign up below.
With love and appreciation,