What are your hopes/goals for the New Year? Praying it is a year of healing and hope for all of you.
I wanted to share my finished art work, “I Still Long to Hold You”, which includes many names of babies that you have shared with me. If any of you see any mistakes on a name, or if I have forgotten a name that one of you posted when I asked for names, please let me know. I originally said this is a “painting” but that’s not fully correct. Actually the words “I Still Long to Hold You” are painted in green metallic ink, and the designs along the border are painted in orange metallic ink, so those are in fact painted. However the names are all written with calligraphy pen, so not technically “painted”. Anyways, if you would like me to email you a copy of the photo please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am still working on finding a place where this artwork can be displayed. Right now it is displayed in my home, but when I find a more public place to have it displayed I will let you know. It measures 30 in. x 20 in, so it’s quite large. Thanks to all of you who added names. Also I want to say that it is finished for now but sometimes a few more finishing touches get added to my paintings as time passes.
In case you are new to my blog, I originally started this art work as a way to remember my daughter Anna’s 3rd Birthday. All of the names in the painting are babies who are no longer with us, given to me by parents and friends to add to this painting. I hope that if you have lost a baby or child, looking at this painting will help you to know you are not alone. There are many names on this painting, given to me by many different people. We are not alone in our grief, and we are also not alone in our remembrance and celebration of our children’s short lives. Do you see any other significance this painting may have to you, whether you have a name included in this or not? I would love if you would share in the comments what this painting means to you or how it has affected you.
I wrote this on Nov. 22nd, the day before Anna’s 3rd Birthday. I didn’t share it then, but I decided to share it now.
There is no right answer
only endless questions and choices
as I ponder how to celebrate your birthday.
Another birthday where you are not here,
and I am hating this tension
yearning for both celebration and grief
not wanting this to be a day of sadness,
yet celebration highlights the hole in our family where you should be.
so what would you want for this day?
how would you have us celebrate if you were here with us?
what kind of cake would you choose? which friends would you invite?
would you like noise and craziness, or simple and quiet?
would you be hoping for a princess doll or Lego blocks?
I cannot know. It breaks my heart.
Do you celebrate this day in heaven?
It is also the day you went there.
I am sure there is a lovely party in heaven.
Cake, balloons, all your favorite animals in attendance.
I’m sure you don’t want us to sit and cry, while you are having such a wonderful time.
Really I suppose my tears are more for me than for you. For what I am missing today.
I know you are not missing anything,
your life is more full and true than it ever could be here.
so what would you say to me today?
no clichés, please. I’ve heard those.
a whisper of “I am with you”
No, you aren’t! You aren’t here! I say.
“Yes I am. All around you. I am wrapped up in you. I came from you, and I am with you still.
Your life will never be the same, because I came, and was a part of it, for such a short time.
My life changed you, and in that way, I am still with you.
Celebrate today the good that I brought into your life, by being in it for a short time.”
Yes, you have brought me good.
A deeper love felt, stronger than I knew before.
New art inspirations, a fuller appreciation of life.
A truer understanding of heaven and my future there.
A reminder of you in so many aspects of nature.
A life more richly felt.
A heart that feels compassion towards those who are grieving.
And a journey of healing that has only just begun.
Today, I remember the gift you are to us,
even though you are no longer with us.
Today, I remember I have a daughter who dines with the royalty of heaven.
I’ve always loved the Christmas season. This year I am excited for but yet there is something missing. I wish I could go back to the carefree Christmas days, but alas, 3 years ago a sadness came into the Christmas season for me and my family, along with the joy and celebration. There is a tension in my heart and mind. I still enjoy it, but there are pangs of sorrow and longing. I grieve for the loss of those carefree, joyful holidays without the pain wrapped up in them as well. I know that many of you reading this can relate in some way. What do you do with it?
Sometimes I try to push it away, throw myself into holiday festivities and dull the pain. Other times I throw myself into the grief and sadness, go back to the moments that brought the most pain into this time of year, remember the people who are missing while forgetting the people who are here. A third option, what I hope to do this year, is find some type of balance. I can’t pretend that this season is what it used to be, before it became a season of loss: of a daughter, a father-in- law, and my husband’s grandmother. But I also cannot stay in that place of only grieving, because I will miss the joy and excitement that is here for me this season, in my daughters’ delight at opening presents, times of playing with cousins and relaxing with family. The joy of a two year old looking at Christmas lights. Baking Christmas cookies. And the true peace that comes from remembering Jesus’ birth, the reason I can truly have hope and joy. I am taking this moment of writing to sit in that tension, and perhaps some of you reading can share what that tension looks like for you, when you celebrate a holiday with loved ones missing, or a longing to have children, or financial struggles… how do you manage to celebrate and enjoy this season while also embracing the truth that the holidays are no longer just a carefree, easy time for you?
On a lighter note, here is a peek at some playful paintings I’ve been working on lately:
**update: I do not have space for any more names, thank you to all who contributed. I will be posting the completed artwork soon. **
I’m working on this piece of art today, the one that I shared last week. I’ve added all the names that have been given to me, and I still have room for about six more names. If any of you would like to include a baby you have lost please comment, message, or email me with their name the way you would like them to be included. Remember to also give me your email address in a private message/email if you would like me to send you an image of the completed artwork. Thanks to all of you who have contributed. -Renee
Update: I am no longer taking names for this artwork. Thanks to all of you who contributed, I will be posting the completed artwork soon.
It’s getting close to what would be Anna’s 3rd birthday. Nov. 26th. And with it also being the start of the holiday season, I’ve been thinking about Anna a lot the past few days. I want to do something to remember her Birthday, as well as remember other children who are not here with us. Today the words shown in the photo came to mind and I painted them on a large sheet of watercolor board. I’m hoping to surround the words I wrote in the painting above with the names of babies lost through miscarriage, still birth, or after birth. Would you like your loved one to be included in this artwork? If you would like to have your child’s name included, simply post their name in the comments on this blog or facebook post. Then also send me a private message or email with your name & email address if you would like me to email you a photo of the completed painting that will include your child’s name. Look forward to seeing how this comes together. I also plan to find a special place to display this large painting when it is completed. -Renee
So its been awhile but I’m back to painting. I have moved to Seattle due to a job change for my husband, and I’ve joined a collaborative art space where I have a place away from home to create (but not too far from home). Its great! Also one day a week I have set aside to work and paint the entire day, without my two young daughters in tow.
So this art thing is in transition, lots of changes just like my life right now. This website will hopefully be updated soon. And along with painting remembrance paintings in memory of babies and loved ones, I also plan to begin creating paintings to celebrate occasions such as weddings, baptisms, birthdays, anniversaries, or just to decorate a wall. I’ll still be using generally the same style- abstract, colorful, a mix of words, images, and colors.
If you are interested in having me create a painting for you we can discuss what you are interested in, the size, etc. and then I can let you know pricing. My prices that are posted on this website will most likely be updated soon, so its best just to talk it over with me.
Looking forward to sharing some new work with you soon!