I have been using art to cope with life’s challenges nearly all my life. At age nine, I lost my mother to breast cancer. Making art became my sanctuary, my escape from the pain. In my adult life I’ve come to use creativity to cope with things I never imagined I would have to at such a young age. In my mid-twenties, I lost my father to heart and lung disease. Parentless at 26, I took up photography as an escape. I found that when I was behind the camera I went to a whole other place… able to focus on the present moment and on finding the beauty right in front of me. It was meditative and created a sanctuary again for me – just like other art forms did for me as a child.
Then, in the summer of 2012, my fiancé was killed very suddenly in a helicopter crash while working as a contract pilot. I was three months shy of my 30th birthday and my whole future vanished with one phone call. His death changed everything about my life. Everything. His death made me realize I had walked away from my dreams… wandered off the path. I left my career behind as a designer, left the city we called home, and I began again out in the country, writing and making art.
Creating things has always been the only way I’ve been able to breathe in the midst of great loss. The only resting place, and the best vantage point from which to see myself and my own journey – both the pain and the joy.