Mixed Media Artist

As She Grows

6″x8″ mixed media painting on wood. The sides are 1.5″ and are painted red.

This painting is available HERE.

When I was eight, my sister, Lisa,  died. She was three years younger than me, just like Scarlett is to Imogen.  The difference is that my sister was born severely brain-damaged. My family mourned for those five years while this tiny little  thing suffered through full body casts,  seizures and pneumonia. To say that her death was a blessing sounds cruel and really, too simple.  The death of your daughter or sister can never really be considered a blessing. The idea that it even could be,  illustrates how unbelievably hard and painful her life must have been. To think about her continuing down that difficult and unrelenting path into her adulthood was almost unbearable. I know my mother went down that path, often, and I can imagine that those thoughts must have been very tiring and terrifying.  Of course, I didn’t think of these things as a child.  All I thought about was that my sister was gone.  Miraculously, two days before  she died, my mom gave birth to a new baby, another daughter.  I felt like I had traded one sister for another and I felt guilty about this because even as a baby, this sister,  was significantly different.  This sister could be held, carried and cuddled. In the morning I would sneak into my parents room and steal this  sleeping baby from her cradle.  She was a living doll. My mother never stopped me or disciplined me for this. Perhaps she realized that this was my healing process. Holding this perfect new life in my arms helped me forget the pain of the loss of Lisa. Or maybe, my mother was so deep in mourning, so tired from all of the pain and anguish that  she had suffered over the past five years, she didn’t have it in her to worry about any of this. I don’t know, as a mother of two daughters, I can not even imagine .

It never ceases to amaze me how the present can make us remember the past. To relive that time with the new perspective that only time can give us. Thanks, Dad, for reminding me of this time and the similarities of my girls right now and of course,undeniably,  the differences.   I have often thought about how it would have been if Lisa had been ‘normal’. If she hadn’t been born with such insurmountable hurdles.  She was the length of a five-year when she died, but she was like an infant,  unable to even raise her head. My mother carried her around on her hip, as you would a small babe, for those five years. She was so beautiful. Her hair was honey brown and she had big beautiful chocolate brown eyes. Her skin,  like peaches and cream.  She truly  was an angel. She was  pure innocence. When ever I think of her, I think of a tiny fawn.

Lisa would have been forty this year and today, that baby that helped us all get through that  difficult time, turns 35.  Happy Birthday, Emma, your timing  was truly a perfect example of when a door closes, a window does indeed  open.


14 responses

  1. Shelly

    What a beautiful, heart felt telling of a difficult story. And yes…when a door closes, a window opens into an opportunity, for we cannot change certain things that happen but we can change the way we view and respond to them. Your story touched my soul…..thank you, Maria

    June 16, 2011 at 4:15 am

  2. Thanks, Shelly.
    We need to get together soon!

    June 16, 2011 at 4:45 am

  3. Unbelievably beautiful, touching, sorrow-filled, joy-filled story. So full of life and love. Thank you.

    June 16, 2011 at 5:48 am

  4. Aida.

    your story moved me to tears, not only are you a brilliant painter, you’re a superb writer as well. thanks for sharing such a touching & personal experience with us, Maria.

    June 16, 2011 at 6:43 am

    • Thanks for your on going support, Aida!

      June 17, 2011 at 4:23 am

  5. Anne

    Oh Maria..How I love you! Today you made me realize what I have even in the face of my loss.


    June 16, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    • Thank you, Anne …
      Love ,
      your spare daughter, ha, ha, ha

      June 17, 2011 at 4:25 am

  6. Thank you for sharing your story. I just lost my 21 year old son on June 10th. It is so hard to deal with all the pain. I always thought I could control everything and protect him from everything. I couldn’t … On sunday morning at 2 am we were outside and a beautiful white owl appeared. I believe that was his spirit letting me know he was okay. My life will never be the same he was my heart and soul. I just loved him thats all we can do.


    June 16, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    • Oh, Michelle, I am so sorry for your loss. I cannot imagine anything worse. I cannot imagine your pain. It is my greatest fear.
      I am sure that your are right, and that white owl was his spirit, these things are not coincidence. My mother tells me that when she lost my sister, Lisa, her deceased father came to her bedside and told her that everything was going to be alright. She was not asleep and it was not a dream. He was there, as clear as day.
      Your owl sighting makes me want to paint an owl… or perhaps you should… paint that beautiful white owl in the dark of night.
      I am thinking of you and your broken heart. I held my children a little harder after I read your comment tonight. Thank you for the reminder that all we can do is love them. That touched me because it is so true. I am going to try to remember that next time I am impatient of frustrated with them.
      Once again, you are in my thoughts and prayers.

      June 17, 2011 at 4:40 am

    • Michelle, I am so sorry. My heart is wrenched with sorrow for your pain. Listen to that moment you experienced with the owl. He IS ok. This may sound somewhat inconsequential right now, but one thing that comforted me at a time of deep loss was this … know ing that he has “all the answers” now. His spirit is soaring. He now knows the answers to all questions. All mysteries have solutions. And he knows at the deepest level — and on the highest plane — how dearly you love him. Thank you for telling us.

      June 17, 2011 at 4:49 am

  7. Thank you so much for your prayers and kind words Maria. I feel at some time I will paint the owl. I am not ready yet. I love your work paint what your heart tells you. I am sure that it will be a beautiful painting. Thank you for sharing what happened with your mother. It gives me hope that my son is loved somewhere else. Thank you Marie for your comforting words.


    June 18, 2011 at 3:08 am

  8. Chris Wynters

    This is beautiful, Maria.

    June 30, 2011 at 5:22 am

  9. Mike Mayday

    Your paintings are all astonishing. They are very beautiful. congratulations

    July 1, 2011 at 4:05 am

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