Below is my story. I am sharing it because I think it helps us to know we are not alone when facing difficult times in life and because it is an example of the healing power of art. I'd love to hear what you think.
"No Place Like Home"
My mom became very ill the first week in January. She was away from home for several months. My family and I were in the “trenches” with her all the while. It seemed each step in the better direction was immediately followed by multiple steps to the worse. I was away from the studio but longed for my own solace I always find there…I had to withdraw from my regular art shows, and away from my comfortable places. But I would not trade a minute of it.
Finally in March when it seemed to be a calmer day, I was able to paint for a morning. So, I painted “No Place Like Home” in one sitting. See, we had just made the decision to move mom from ICU and take her home for hospice care. We wanted her to be as comfortable as possible and surrounded by her loved ones. How she longed to go HOME while she had been away. We would read her scriptures and devotionals often to her. As a woman of strong faith we knew it soothed her soul, as it did ours. I read Ezekiel 37 at her bed side when I heard about this show. Ah yes, I thought as I read. Dry bones. (My mom had fought a courageous battle against rheumatoid arthritis.) Breath. (Mom was now on oxygen to help her breathe.)
There in the trenches you really wrestle with belief . Watching someone you love suffer. Grieving the coming loss. Struggling for words. Having come to the end of yourself and ultimately having only your faith to sustain your exhausted, empty self. I kept thinking, THIS is the valley of the shadow of death. Do I believe?
Mom passed away on May 13th. I was fortunate to be there holding her hand when she drew her last breath here and took her next one there. We rejoice that there is no longer any suffering for her, that her body has been healed…her bones made straight and new life breathed into her (Ezekiel 37:13&14). I have walked through the valley of the shadow of death. I cling to the promise that He will carry me completely to the other side…not just the other side here, but there as well.
Even as comfortable as we can be made here, there is no place like our heavenly home.