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The last few days have been, obviously, sad ones. I’ve been missing my dad like crazy since seeing his tiny little obit. Then I learned Saturday night that one of my favorite residents in the dementia care facility where my dad had lived passed away. I haven’t seen her since he died, but she and a couple other residents still feel like family – our extended dementia family. It’s a family none of us wanted to join, but there it is, nonetheless. And so I loved her, with her ready hugs and mischief-making. And losing her feels like losing one more piece of my dad.

And then the Pulse attacks happened. I woke up basically in tears that morning before having learned about the massacre. And so the tears continued. There is nothing I can say that will add to the hashing and rehashing of what went wrong. I can’t take away the pain from the people who survived, their families, or the families of the people who were killed. I can lend my support by sending all the love I can muster out into the world to them and everyone else affected by the actions of that horrible person. But there’s nothing concrete that I feel I can do that will help…

…Except, create. Creation is the opposite of and the antidote to destruction. I can put beauty back out into the world. And so I spent the bulk of yesterday in my studio, painting and painting and painting. I examined and loved the tiny details in the images from which I was working. I reminded myself that there is still so much wonder and awe to be found in this world. I reminded myself that the grieving that we are all doing, be it from a community tragedy like Orlando’s attack or our own personal losses, helps to remind us of how much we love. If we didn’t have so much love for each other, it wouldn’t hurt this much. I reminded myself to respect the shadows but to look for the light, lest the shadows swallow us whole. And I quieted my own mind by just putting paintbrush to paint to board, paintbrush to paint to board, paintbrush to paint to board. And I resolved to keep helping people see the beauty that’s still here by making it into art.

crab with legs finished