Unsung Grief

I tend to fight with some of my emotions.  Maybe that’s why I art, to try and work through the emotions, or to try and express some of the emotions that I can’t seem to express.

Grief is Really Tough

Grief, deep sadness, that’s one I have trouble, well, almost feeling.  I ignore the sadness, the grief.  I don’t have much in my life that touches me that way, but when I do, I keep a hold of it, way down deep.  My heart just sort of clings on to the grief, stashes it away, as if to keep me from hurting.

Over the past year, we had some things happening in our life, some events that seemed to be tossing us around in chaos.  One of the consequences of all of that upheaval was we had to move.  We moved into a smaller house with a chain-link fence.  That was the first time we have had a chain-link fence since having dogs in our family.  For the first time, our dogs are able to easily see what’s going on in the neighborhood.  For the first time, we have a fence short enough for our huge Golden Retriever to jump out of the yard.

And once he found out he can jump the fence, we stopped being able to keep him in the yard.  He’s super excited about all of the bunnies and other little critters running around the neighborhood, and he’s even more excited about all of the dogs that live in our new neighborhood.  Our problem was that we couldn’t afford the possible solutions that might keep him in the yard.  And the dog catcher was getting calls and complaints about our Bandit running around the neighborhood helping other dogs escape their own yards.

I said all of that to say this: we tried to find a new home for Bandit.  We found a family down in the next valley over from our valley.  They had a huge yard, a much taller chain-link fence and other puppies and dogs.

It was one of the most difficult and deeply sad things I’ve had to do in recent years.  I gave away a family member, a loved pet of my children, a loyal and loving dog that always sat under my feet when I was working or arting.

A Happy Ending

The best part of this whole story…Bandit ended up giving the new family Hell and they brought him home.  He learned to actually climb their much-taller chain-link fence.  He was nabbing pizzas and homemade breads from their kitchen.  He was chewing up the baseboards (we have not had any of these problems from him ever, well, except for the pizza snatching!).  We have found other ways of coping with the whole escaping problem, he now goes outside on a leash or a lead.  He doesn’t seem to mind too much, he just acts really happy to be home and back under my feet!

This piece is part of how I worked through some of the grief.

Mixed Media Piece, 16" x 20", wrapped canvas, collaged found papers, Neocolors, acrylics, gel medium, alcohol inks, glass, spray polyurethane topcoat

The collage underneath the painting, which I actually originally expected to keep more of, is pieces of music, dictionary pages about pets and Golden Retrievers, and snippets of black-and-white pics of Bandit.

The five “pools” are representative of the five years Bandit was with us (the five years before he came back home).

Close-up of five "pools"

I used those little clear glass stones that you can put in the bottom of a vase or something.  I colored them and used them on the last layer of the whole thing.

I don’t typically have a piece full of symbols and hidden meanings and so forth.  My art is usually pretty obvious on the surface, or just because it’s what came out.  Not usually is it so steeped in some deep subconscious statement.  Oh well, it really helped me with letting out the tears, I cried all the way through it, a cleansing and releasing activity.

So there it is…a whole ‘nother reason why I art.  I just didn’t know it before now.


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