With not an academic bone in my body, Art was my favourite subject in school. Id spend hours in my room doodling and sketching instead of homework and study. Encouraged to paint at home as a child my mother used to bring me down to the railings on St Stephen's Green and Merrion Square to visit my Aunt Helen Mulkerns (a founding member of the Merrion Square Art Group), who would sell her original paintings to the passing public, along with her peers. I didn't dare to hope I too would some day take up a spot on those same railings. With the end of school I was brought back to earth with a bump and had to go out and earn a living and my own personal creativity took a complete backseat for the next 25 years. My career in supporting people with intellectual disabilities usually centred around supporting them in their creative endeavours but I believed I was destined to be a spectator in the world of Art for the rest of my life rather than an active participant.
It wasn't until I was completely broken after the loss of Kate that I was given a tiny spark of light in the form of a new furniture paint called Annie Slone Chalk paint. There was no prep needed with this paint and you could slap it on an old chair or table and bring it back to life with little or no effort. Perfect for me as even picking up a paintbrush at that stage of my recovery seemed like a huge ordeal. It was the lifeline I was praying for and it heralded the beginning of my awakening after being in the depths of despair for so long. I reached out and joined the human race again, taking classes in creativity. From there amazing things started happening for me. Creating began to be my focus and my reason for getting out of bed. When I realised that I still had the creative gene I was gifted, in the form of the artisan furniture I was creating, I dared to pick up an actual artist's paintbrush and put marks on canvas. No one was more surprised than me with what was flowing from my paintbrush and I truly believe that Kate is guiding me with this wonderful gift that has changed my life.
My life now is full of gratitude for being given this new lease of life and my relationship with my daughter lives on in each and every one of my paintings. My deepest wish is that I can give some hope and light at the end of the tunnel to others who have been through similar devastating circumstances. To not give up. That through love and gratitude you can emerge from the darkness again. I thought our life was over when our child died but with cultivating acceptance and gratitude for the wonderful people and things in my life presently, I was awakened again and plan to continue to celebrate this amazing life we have been given and where our journey has brought us. I am still a mother to my child but now instead of focusing on her absence in my physical life I celebrate her spiritual existence that envelopes me in all that I create.