Working Through Grief

Some of you may be aware that recently I have experienced the loss that death brings. Nothing stings like the passing of a parent. It is a reminder of your own immortality.

Now I have not had the best of relationships with my family since childhood. Every family has secrets and since my teenage years, I decided I would not repeat insidious familial patterns. That is something I take comfort in.

The challenge that I have is that I was hoping for a healing of those relationships before it was too late. Now it is too late. So what is a lone potter to do with the knowing that in spite of his best efforts there will be no happy ending?

Create their own.

So I have taken some time for me. I am truly sorry for my lack of activity here, but my grief took me by surprise.

What have I done with that time? I have focused on my own family, and on my dreams. This is where this blog post gets a little lighter.

I have spent the month and a bit working on fixing up an old garage and converting it into a pottery studio. I have also been working on my gardens and creating beauty anywhere around me I can.

Here are some before, after and in progress pictures of the exterior of the studio:

Dealing with grief is an inside job, so next up will be working on the inside of the studio. Here is my work bench, which is starting to take shape:

New work area for pottery, with reclaimed wood.

During this time, I was not throwing pots for a few weeks. I am not sure if I was punishing myself, or if I just did not have the stamina being in the middle of a renovation project and also in my head with many emotions to work through.

But a couple days on the wheel was a restorative cure, and I managed to make these pots, which are now bisque fired:

You can expect to see more posts from me going forward. My inward gaze is turning outward again, and for that I am grateful. Thank you all for your patience and for your kind words.

My best work is yet to come! Bear with me as I catch up with my online tasks. There are some exciting new projects and works in store for you. I am getting ready to explore another pottery technique – pit firing!

59 Comments

  1. I just read “backward’ from the most recent posts. I am so sorry for your loss and grief. Your renovation work is wonderful and is a beautiful metaphor of restoration and new life. We are all scarred by life in an imperfect world, but there is hope right in the midst of all that we feel and experience. Redemption is available. Your pottery speaks of these truths. Truth calls out to truth. I am praying for you (hope you don’t mind me saying so).

    1. Thank you so much for your kind and heartfelt words and I appreciate them and they prayers. You are right that I think somewhere the restoration project almost became a metaphor for me of rebuilding and moving forward in spite of the grief I was feeling, in that it was something tangible and positive I could focus on.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and thoughts. I hope you are having a wonderful week!

  2. Felt the pain and loss and as I journeyed through this blog felt the healing and comfort and grace start to flow. You share much beauty and grace in your crafted pottery and words. Thank you for sharing your soul. 🌹

    1. Thank you for such a touching and kind comment. I make an effort to remain open and to not let the heavy things this world brings to weigh me down. It can be a great challenge in moments, but I believe strongly the rewards are greater. I appreciate your kindness and words immensely and hope your week is full of peace and light.

    1. Thank you for sharing your beautiful reflections and post. I think the garden is a beautiful metaphor for life and the cycle that we go through and I know I take great comfort in mine! I hope you are having a wonderful summer filled with peace.

  3. I have you in my thoughts. Grief is a terrible wound that is slow to heal. My husband experienced a similar situation to yours. His counsellor suggested that he might be grieving for a relationship that didn’t happen. It seemed to help him. You are a creative person so, perhaps, you feel more deeply. But that very creativity is the balm you need. Time may not heal totally but it puts us at a distance. Life will get better for you.

    1. Thank you so much for your very kind words Lynne! You are very wise and correct in suggesting that what your husband’s counsellor said is correct. I feel like I have been grieving this relationship for awhile and now hope is gone for a better one. I am committed to making life better and moving forward. I hope you are having a beautiful day and weekend and really appreciate your kindness.

  4. I just wanted to say thank you for visiting my site and also that I’m so sorry for your loss. Working through the grief is indeed a process, maybe staying busy is for the best. 🙂

    1. You are very welcome. Your site is very informative. I appreciate your kind words and staying busy and creative has been a great tonic for me thus far. I hope you have a beautiful day and weekend 😉

  5. I am sorry for your loss. I know the feeling well. I lost my Father this last March to a terribly ugly disease. While we loved each other very much, like you had there were some things left unresolved, which in my case I’m not quite sure they could have been while he was alive. I am glad that you found comfort in your creative process while you grieved. It is such a therapeutic tool we have to work with.

    1. I am really sorry to hear about the passing of your father and that you are experiencing that loss too. I am getting to a place of acceptance that the issues between us never could have been resolved as well and taking comfort in the knowledge that both of us in our own ways did our best. Creativity has allowed me to have some emotional freedom with which to express myself. I wish for you much healing and peace with your situation.

  6. I am sorry for your loss. So much beauty has come. Like the pots fired in your pit, from heat, something new and beautiful has emerged. Thank you for sharing not only your work but also your journey.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and appreciation for my art. It means so much and the act of creating pottery has very much been a symbol for my journey. I hope you have a great day and weekend ahead!

    1. It has been a really positive thing for me to keep busy! I am sorry to hear about your mum and appreciate you sharing your experience with me. It helps me learn when people share how they coped. Wishing you a beautiful day and weekend.

    1. You are right about that and I really appreciate your insight here. I hope you are having a wonderful day!

    1. Thank you so much Gwen. Each day gets a little easier for me. I hope you are having a great day!

  7. I know exactly how you felt….it was likewise with me, friend. Thank god, with time, memories get a little blurred along with the pain.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement. I feel like time helps very much and each day that passes things get a little easier.

    1. Thank you so much for your very thoughtful comment. I hope your week is off to a great start and many blessings to you!

  8. I just saw this post and I’m struck by the honesty of your words. Losing a parent is awful. I’ve lost both of mine – one unexpectedly and one not. I found that putting my hands in the dirt and planting things helped tremendously – you’re right about creating beauty being therapeutic. I also found great comfort in loving and helping animals any way I could. I’m glad you are healing and I’m happy you are sharing your beautiful work on social media again.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words Karen! It has been a bit rough at times, but I am grateful to have my art and garden to help me through. It makes a big difference and I think I would be lost without them and of course the pets in the house make a big difference. Their unconditional love lightens my heart. I am sorry to hear about your loss, but glad you found a way through it.
      Thank you again for your kind, honest and compassionate words. I am happy to be back on social media and connecting with wonderful people like you. It means a lot to me.

  9. Thank you for such a nice reply. I am so sorry for your loss and feel badly that I didn’t see your post before now. Animals, plants, nature, art, music …… so good for the soul! I hope you continue to heal and thrive in your beautiful surroundings.

    1. Thank you so much Karen, and no need to be sorry. It can be hard to keep up with online activities in the summer! At least I find that to be true! I really appreciate your kind wishes and you are right, those are the important things to me in my life and my journey of healing. I hope you are having a spectacular weekend!

  10. Hi, I’m sorry for your loss. My dad passed away (hard for me to say died) nearly five and one-half years ago, and sometimes I’m overcome with grief. Writing helped me immensely; I’m glad you have an artistic outlet. Whenever I see nature – a rainbow on my car seat when the sun hits a certain way, a leaf on the windshield, a butterfly that stopped right in front of me once as I was walking – I say, “Hi, Daddy,” out loud and smile. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story. I love how you are keeping your dad’s memories alive. I think I may be driving the people around me nuts by sharing little insignificant stories of my own when I hear a certain song or am triggered to remember something. I am glad you have had your writing to help you process your grief. I can’t imagine doing this without art. And of course I am sorry to hear about your father, but he continues you through your memories and that is a beautiful thing.

      1. Hi, sorry for the late reply. I only saw your reply now. Art and expression are very healing, and I’m happy you channel your energy creatively. There are no insignificant stories or memories. I think people (myself included) are reticent to share as they feel others may not understand or relate. That’s been my experience at times; however, I’ve learned to share for me and am following your blog to learn more.

  11. Sorry for your loss. Yes, it is hard when you did not have the best relationship with your parent and it cant be fixed. You can only work on healing your own heart and the part you played in the rift. I was in your place too with my dad, one can only forgive them for the part they played and let it go. Blessings to you and your lovely pottery work.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your experience and wise words Deryn! You are right and I am able to forgive, regret is hard to let go of, but I am working on it and for me being present in my current relationships and helping those I can seems to be a good way forward. I hope you are having a beautiful weekend filled with blessings!

  12. In my personal experience, grieving came in stages and with regards to my daughter, took what seemed forever. With my father it was less drawn out. As for “the mother” the abuse was so horrific that all I felt was saddness that a human could spend their entire life simply spewing rage and violence. All I felt was pity.

    I’ve but more than miles between it all and am now surrounded by such wonderful neighbors that are the family I never had. Each morning I can’t wait to hit the trails around my village and watch the sun rise above the chateau behind my house… I am fortunate indeed.

    An old cliche that rings true for me: You can’t choose your family but you can choose your friends. However, I have found riends that have become my family.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with me. It means a lot and I find your words to ring true. I can relate to your feelings of grief and the stages of it aren’t always a linear progression for me.

      Like you I am finding comfort in nature and friendships that help me to see the beauty and positive things in life and for that I feel blessed.

      That old cliche is so very true and I do choose to surround myself with loving people, who feel like my family. It lightens my spirits and lifts up my soul.

      1. Thank you for sharing this! It is a beautiful poem and wonderful tribute.

  13. I feel your grief with you – I lost my Daddy only 3 weeks ago. I too try cleaning and being creative and sports and meeting friends to compensate. I like to think he is “up there” in the golden-blue sky and looking down to be with me when I need him

    1. I am pretty sure he is still with you! It is funny that you mention cleaning. I spent about three hours doing that yesterday! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  14. I can so well relate to this post. Not quite the same in that I did have a good relationship with family, but I’ve lost so many family that most of them are on the other side now. I rebuild and dive deeper and find myself again over and over, and honestly right now it’s more of a challenge than ever. Reading your wonderful words helps

    1. It can be a real challenge to find yourself after loss and grief. The vase ‘Phoenix Reborn’ was in reference to me taking those first baby steps to do so. Thank you for sharing your wonderful words, they inspire me to keep moving forward though my loss.

  15. I was just remembering after my mom died. I had been taking care of her for last three years of life. At first I was so lost without her and I couldn’t even see or care about the world around me. I kept working barely, a regular 9-to-5 job. She died November 7, 2003, and the following spring I was driving to work one morning when I had the most amazing experience. I literally heard her speaking from the seat next to me in the car, exclaiming “oh just look at that sunrise!!“
    I looked up and saw the most glorious sunrise ever, and I have been missing it all. I burst into tears and said thank you mom, and that marked a turnaround in my healing. I started noticing the beauty of nature around me, taking hikes, and got myself my first digital camera.
    Since then I’ve lost three siblings and other dear relatives and friends, and taking pictures of nature helped me through it all.
    Now sometimes I just enjoy the moment outside, not driven to always take pictures of it.
    Baby steps… Oh yes. It takes many baby steps to equal a stride, and many strides to create a journey. This journey of life is quite the adventure.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. I think it is beautiful that your mom helped you through your grief from the other side. That is a beautiful miracle!
      I can appreciate and understand taking comfort in nature. For me, when I am off it can help set my soul right. Hikes and walks along the ocean are a big part of the salve that helps my soul. For me, it is where I connect most with my spirituality.
      Life has been quite the adventure and above all the difficult experiences I have encountered, I feel blessed.

      1. This is very true. I find that with the grief I feel things more deeply, both the good and the bad, but I am choosing to focus on the good.

  16. I know the pain of losing a parent. I lost my mom 5 years ago & my dad 4 years ago. My dad & I had many years that we didn’t speak. I was able to establish a relationship a few years before he passed. Looks like you are getting adjusted. Happy thoughts to you!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story and for the happy thoughts! I am really glad you were able to establish a relationship with your dad before he passed.
      I hope you are having a great week so far!

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