Upon first glance at this paper heart, it probably strikes you as something a child created. The design is simple, colorful and easy to execute. It may inspire thoughts of love, or even childlike wonderment.
This was the work of yours, truly. Clearly, I am not an artist. I created this as part of a personal project I am working on. It has taken some time to surrender to the process, rather than focus on the outcome. The lesson is one that mirrors my daily life.
Art and creativity have been extremely healing for me throughout my journey. The artistic process has proven to be a wonderful tool for self discovery. This project is no exception. The image that you see is not the original image I created. In preparing to illustrate the heart, I had a vision in my head of what the finished product would look like. I imagined a vivid red heart in the center, with magnificent yellow rays emanating out of it. It felt like a design that I should be able to execute. Much like life, it did not turn out the way I expected. This parallels what the creation of our family has been. When my husband and I decided to have children, we just expected that we would be able to watch them grow. It seemed to be a fair expectation, one that is relatively normal. Until it wasn’t.
When life didn’t go as we expected, we were faced with the decision of how to continue breathing. Most days we adapt to life as I adapted the illustration on this paper heart. Working with oil pastels, like the ones I used here, allow the artist to blend and soften as he or she creates, enabling the illustration to take on a different shape without abandoning the original creation completely.
Connected to Christian, in a moment of surrender and inspiration, I was guided to soften the center heart and blend it into Christian’s rays of love. The image began to change. The energy of it shifted. No longer a red heart with yellow rays, but a red heart surrounded by soft orange hues. Once two separate entities, blended back into one.
Closely examining the heart lends itself to further interpretation. The orange is brighter in some spots than others. Christian’s pure rays of love still reach the outer edges of the heart. The beams are both focused and soft. He continues to make his own impact and work through me. The center heart is beautiful but a bit messy, a bit misshapen. Darker clumps of red stray throughout the larger heart. Encasing it all is the color purple in a non linear, raggedy design. Blended in some spots, less diluted in others. It symbolizes me.
Unbeknownst to me at the start of this project, what unfolded at the conclusion, depicted life after child loss. It was created without even realizing the deeper meaning until I reflected on it.
Christian is not able to be seen by human eyes anymore. He is felt by heart, always here, woven into the illustration of my life. He works with me and through me. The childlike quality he blesses my life with makes me smile every day. Somehow he has mastered the ability to continue to pull pranks from Heaven and it is reflected in this piece.
Our beautiful, blended life is messy. The lines blur between the seen and unseen. At the center of it all is heart, full of love and hope, emanating rays of light that are sometimes clear and focused. Other times they are blended and softened. Forever interwoven, forever connected, forever love. Christian is never gone.