Monday, August 2, 2010

Driving home from Willowbrae.

I do a lot of thinking driving home from Willowbrae. That's the street where my 16 year old son lives. I haven't mentioned him much because this is a blog about my art. But he is so much about my art. He is why I paint. every Sunday night I am in such deep thought driving back from dropping him off totally wasted from the weekend. I would describe my life as a bittersweet roller coater ride. I am sure many people can relate. It will be two years ago this August that SAM went into a residential placement. It all became too much to handle. I couldn't hold it together anymore very well. He had a good opportunity to get the services he needed. I am thankful he is close by and I am very involved in every aspect of his life. (maybe more than the school would like.)

The bitter part is that he has many physical issues which cause pain and stress to his body and he has no real way to communicate when something is wrong. Instead, he resorts to self injurious behavior that is truly heart breaking. To not know what he is feeling is the worst part as a parent because you don't know what to do. All you can do is guess and hope you figure it out.

There is a SWEET part though. I don't think I would be here writing this blog if it hadn't been for raising a child like Sam. It has given me strengthen I never new I was capable of and a perspective on life I am grateful for. I never take one glance or smile from him for granted. Unknowingly of course, he has influenced my family and friends brought people together and has kept my mother going, giving her purpose into her 80's. As difficult as it was for my two other sons growing up along side a younger brother with severe autism , it has given them insight and
a sense of compassion at such a young age.

When Sam moved to his residential school it was as if a switch was turned off and everything stopped. It was so overwhelming and even two years later it still feels strange. After time passed I felt I should go out to "work" but my husband encouraged me to just paint. Even though we were struggling financial about that same time, he kept telling me, " Keep painting. " So I did and opened an online shop, started exhibiting in art festivals and here I am. I am so grateful to be able to do what I love.
In the midst of it all I feel truly blessed and know as one door closes another window opens.



Elements said...

Thanks Catherine, your artwork is so happy it seems you truly have found an outlet that helps you and your strength is incredible. Thanks for sharing.

Yvette said...

It cannot be easy, but you''ve done the best you can do. You've made a good life for you, your son and family. Your paintings are beautiful and speak volumes about your inner strength and vision. I admire you and your work.

Lisa said...


Your drives home
continue to bring
to light many questions
about life
I am sure.
You are so gracious
to share them with us.

Thank you for sharing....
not only your wonderful
paintings, but a bit
more about you
and your sweet family.

Grace often comes along
when we are restless
or in pain.
Sometimes a wave of light
breaks through the darkness
and it's as though
a voice is saying,
"You are accepted."

Always, Lisa

Susan said...

thanks for sharing your story, Catherine. it touched me very deeply. I am honered to have you as a reader to my blog.
keep up the great work as a painter and as a mom.