Tuesday, June 28, 2011

grief and art therapy

I have gone through a grief period over the past three years. Actually the grief started to grow five years ago, when my father was getting more and more ill. I cared for him and my mother visiting daily, helping a little, taking him for a walk. He crossed the threshold now already three years ago. Sense of time has completely changed for me. It is as though I live on the "inside" of time now. Mother and I grieved together for the past three years. Now she too passed on to the other side a few months ago.
Art therapy helps with grief. Sharing and expressing experiences, feelings, thoughts and questions through the art work can often be much more impacting than just words.
Using moist clay I sculpted my mother holding my father up as best as she could while he tried to get out of bed. It instilled in me great love and compassion for how they functioned together, making each day the best they could. The modelling of the clay brought me into a reality of their life, and at the same time a perspective of myself as an "outsider" with my own feelings about them and their situation of suffering and glory.

Painting with watercolor is also very helpful. I painted one day the blue stormy sea and sky. Blue can bring out a sense of longing.
My father loved it.
Now that they both are gone, I am so fortunate to provide art therapy with people in hospice. The sharing is intense, the poems ring out truth and understanding. A deep sense of belonging can come about by doing art therapy in a group, and one on one with the therapist.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011