Today is my grandmother’s 97th birthday. We were planning a big party for her this weekend, the whole family would be there with a big spread of food, topped off with a fancy cake, all in her honor – the monarch of our family.
But God had other plans for her.
Monday afternoon I got a call that she was rushed to the hospital. Minutes later another call…she had passed away.
I was deeply sad. I saw her at Christmas and knew her health was failing, but didn’t expect this so soon. For Christmas, my mom ordered a blanket with my Peacock painting on it to give to my grandmother as a gift. When she opened it, she loved it so much she said it was too nice to use! We draped it over her and she couldn’t stop talking about it and showing it off to everyone! The day I got the news of her passing, I was so flustered inside with grief and sadness, I couldn’t process any of it. So I sat down to paint. This is why I paint. To sort through the weeds of my emotions until I find the clarity to heal. Thinking of the blanket (the last time I saw her), I started to paint another peacock.
Tuesday came. After sending the kids off to school I sat down to work, but was flooded by the sadness again. I needed more time. I spent some time with my parents that morning, then came home. Alone again with my grief, I painted more, and continued every day that week.
Friday was her funeral. It was a beautiful service, followed by dinner with the family. The party we would have had for her birthday, we now gathered to say goodbye instead. It was a long, emotional day, but regardless of how tired I was when we came home, I wasn’t ready to end the night. My husband opened a bottle of wine, and I poured more paint. We talked about life, we laughed about life. We talked about regrets and how to avoid them. We talked about relationships and how to grow closer in them. By the time the wine was gone, and the conversation trailed, the peacock was finished.
Somehow painting it all week, and finishing it the same night that we said our goodbyes, gave me some kind of closure. Focusing on each brush stroke put me in a meditative state while I let all of my grief out onto the canvas.
Now what to name it?
My grandmother was looking forward to her big birthday celebration. She loved getting all dressed up for parties! She had an appointment to get her nails and hair done for the event, and one of the last conversations she had was planning what to wear for her big day! She loved to wear tops that had sparkle. Her favorite necklace was the long string of pearls, iridescent, like the hues of the peacock. Her earrings, adorned with pearls and diamonds, shimmered like the tail feathers of the peacock. Dressed to the nines at every party and every age, she was radiant! Radiant, like a peacock spreading its feathers.