We all deal with grief in different ways. We may cry or get angry. We may keep ourselves busy or hide in our bed. What’s important is that we learn our own way of grieving.
In September, I attended the monthly Creative Mornings gathering at the Peterson-Dumesnil House. Creative Mornings is a global breakfast lecture and creative networking community and every month our local Louisville Chapter lines up an incredible speaker. #CMLou packs venues like Actor’s Theatre, the Speed & the Henry Clay each month, but this time we met in a giant outdoor tent that had been set up for a wedding. As I walked into the tent to get seated, I noticed several painted portraits on easels. I snapped a quick pic, not knowing why the portraits were there.
As we got started, Creative Mornings Lousiville organizer, Ben Terry, introduced the speaker, Jaylin Stewart. Jaylin shared her life story of loss while finding her own way of making peace with grief. I was in awe and I teared up as she spoke. This 23-year-old woman is an artist. A self-made artist who has never taken a class and has pushed through so much adversity in life. She has seen so much loss and has found a way to help heal others, as well as herself.
The portraits she started painting as a sophomore in high school were of people she lost. People who the community lost to murder and violence. Despite no formal training or classes, she continued painting and decided she could use her gift to help others. She began painting the portraits for lost family, friends and strangers. She was able to capture their legacies and relieve some of her own grief along the way.
As a Medium, I found this beautiful. I often heal by bringing people’s personalities back to life. By bringing through evidence they give to me about their appearance, their physical attributes, their personality traits, experiences they shared, their memories, and things they are aware of In your life right now. I “paint” them back to life with my voice. Jaylin paints them back to life with her brush… and her work is amazing. She paints them in such a way that allows you to focus on what their life was, bringing the focus to their happiness rather than their death and absence.
Our loved ones are always with us. They find a way to let us know that. Jaylin shows it through art. I show it through my voice as a Medium. Your loved ones will show you in subtle ways. Through a song that reminds you of them, through a brush of wind on your cheek, through a bird that keeps coming by each day or by coming to you in your dreams. Remember they aren’t gone, they aren’t physically here, but they are here in spirit with you always.
Creative Mornings allowed us to come together and hear Jaylin share her life, her grief, and her healing. Allow yourself to grieve in the best way you know how. Paint. Walk. Talk. Shout. Cry. Exercise. Sleep. We have to be able to feel what we feel so that we can accept a loss and move forward towards love. We have to grieve to be able to feel that happiness. It always comes back to you, your happiness, and feeling peace and love.
“The legacy is always greater than the loss.” -Jaylin Stewart