Painting, April 10, 2019

When I decided to take an early retirement 12 months ago to care for Mom, I had grand ideas of what I would do with all my extra time. I had visions of a perpetually clean house, every drawer and closet organized, and completed projects that had sat dormant for 20 years.

I started with refinishing our kitchen table and chairs for a few hours a day in the garage. When the weather warmed I painted our backyard fence by hand, then moved to a bedroom to paint the walls, and then a bathroom, then a dining room…  This all occurred very slowly as my primary focus was caring for Mom. But I did look forward to my few hours a day of painting.

Then something beautiful and unexpected happened. A friend pulled me aside and asked me this question,  “Jill, how does it feel to paint your way through grief in advance?” It stopped me in my tracks.

She was spot on.  Painting was helping me process all the emotions in caring for my Mom and grieving her eventual dying all at once. I listened to a variety of Pandora stations from 70’s funk, Old Crooners, Folk Music, and Christian Radio – through it all I laughed, I danced and I cried as I found my strength and myself.  It was my therapy.

Caring for a parent as they are living their last season and helping to make their life meaningful at the end is not for sissies.

Sometimes you need to sing, dance and paint your way through the rough spots.

Sing loud and proud and paint messy friends.

It’s worth it…

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