How I Grieved My Brother’s Death Through Art

how to grieve through art, how I grieved my brother's death through art, art and grief

Dear Wonderful, Creative You:

Over the weekend, I was listening to an On Being episode with artist Dario Robleto. His work centers on using unexpected materials to remember: the earliest recorded pulse waves cast in gold, his parents’ record collections ground to dust and cast into delicately balanced pelvises, and “pain bullets” cast from audiotapes of poets, ash, mourning dresses, and various materials. His work sits at the intersection of art, science, and nature – a place where most of my curiosity settles too. Hearing about his work filled me with a desire to share something I’ve been thinking about for some time. I want to tell you how I grieved my brother’s death through art.

I’ve been wanting to share this story with you, and how I used my art to create beauty, ritual, and healing, but when my brother first died, the wounds were fresh, and it seemed too soon, and too much. Now with time, the pandemic, and the incredible hurts Black, Brown and non-gender conforming folk are suffering, I knew I needed to share this story and the tools I used to grieve through art. I hope it offers you comfort, or some ideas about how to process your own grief, at a time when we are all experiencing it.

I don’t normally share this much about my personal life, but it feels important to give to others right now, and so I’m taking the risk. I’d ask that you please not offer advice or judgment.

My brother’s addictions started early, and ended his life early, at just 42.

I got the call when I was at the top of a mountain in Maine. He had an untreatable infection in his foot, it needed to be amputated, and he was probably dying. I’d been half waiting for this call. Every time an unrecognized number in his area rang, my heart stopped a moment. Frequently I’d get calls from a hospital – that he was having fluid drained again, that he needed to stop drinking or he would die because his body was shutting down. I tried to help. Once he even let me help him get back into rehab, but Peter was trying to drown out a pain much greater than himself, and he didn’t want an audience. In the last year or so he barely ever answered my calls and texts, never mind the door.

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    I was lucky that we were able to get to the hospital for the last few days of Peter’s life – it felt good to be able to to advocate for him and take care of him. I wanted him to know that he was loved and was wasn’t alone. He had whittled down all his savings and had no insurance anymore. He was at a hospital for the uninsured, and they saw him like a lost cause – they treated him okay, but they didn’t see who he was. I showed the doctor a picture of him a few years previous at my wedding, when he was still in recovery, sober, and happy. I talked to her about what he was before he was lying in that hospital bed with a deteriorating foot and missing teeth. She teared up. She talked to Peter differently after that.

    As he was dying, when the palliative nurse gave the morphine dose that made him finally relax a bit, he began sipping from an imaginary glass – smiling, and giggling. It turned my stomach. I hated his addictions and what they did to him, and it spoke so clearly of how obliterating the pain was the only thing that brought him relief. But I was relieved he was finally comfortable.

    Peter died having pushed away most of the people in his life. He was a good person, but I think he felt ashamed of his addictions, and didn’t want people to see him that way. His funeral had a few family members, his girlfriend, and mostly, my husband’s family, there to support me.

    For me, losing Peter was sadness about the loss of my brother, but also so much grief about the life he never realized. He died at age 42 of cirrhosis of the liver. He never married. Never had kids. Never fulfilled so many of his dreams and desires. I wanted a way to grieve these losses, but also to give Peter some of what he never had.

    During the time between my brother’s death and the memorial service, I punched out vellum butterflies. Over a hundred. And I folded each wing with a straight edge and carefully pierced each butterfly and strung it on a nylon cord. The repetitive work gave me a way to channel my sadness, my frustration, my questions, and the heaviness. I wanted to create an installation above the table where his ashes would sit – a swarm of butterflies to rise from the ashes and carry him off into the sky.

    art and grief, grieving through art, how i grieved my brother's death through art

    I loved the delicate, yet strong nature of vellum – there was a vulnerability, like there was to Peter, that seemed right. But at the same time, the butterfly was a symbol of freedom – something I think he never had, but always wished for.

    art and grief, grieving through art, how i grieved my brother's death through art

    At the service, I suspended butterflies at the entrance, flitting here and there, leading to the swarm of butterflies at the front of the room, ready to carry him off to the heavens.

    I gave the remembrance at the service. I felt blessed to be able to create a full circle ritual with my art and my words. To write something real, something poetic to honor him and his life, felt important. To have others hear it, listening with attention and care for Peter, felt healing. Writing this now feels like an extension of that.

    I wanted to keep what I’d written for my brother, so I made a book where I recorded my eulogy. I’m so happy I have it; these years later, it still feels right. The art is not perfect, or precise. It’s real. It’s heart felt, and making the book and the butterflies gave me a way to channel and understand my feelings and my hopes. It gave me a way to create a ritual about his death – to honor him, and to give him space for living on – much like Dario Robleto does in his work.

    art and grief, grieving through art, how i grieved my brother's death through art

    My in laws were very thoughtful and gave me a butterfly bush not long after Peter died. I planted it in our front garden along with some of his ashes. I talk to him sometimes when the butterflies gather around the bush, collecting their nectar and pollen. It makes me happy to be able to offer him a chance to be here with us.

    This is the book in full, including a beautiful Mary Oliver poem that encapsulates my hope for him.

    art and grief, grieving through art, how i grieved my brother's death through art
    art and grief, grieving through art, how i grieved my brother's death through art

    I hope that perhaps I’ve offered some ideas about grieving through art. Art can help us honor, create ritual, and keep the people we love present, even after they are gone. Art also has space for all the complicated, messy ways that we love each other, and there’s beauty in that. I wish you much love and comfort right now. You deserve it.

    Creatively Yours,

    Amy

    143 Comments

      • Amy Maricle

        Thanks so much for taking the time to read it, Nancy. xo

        Reply
        • joanne

          thank you so much for sharing your story………i lost my younger sister to suicide on March 20 1986……..she was 34 years old and a pediatrician……….very sad and tragic…….its a long story, childhood home stuff so we were never close………..

          Reply
          • Amy Maricle

            I’m so sorry for your loss, Joanne. xo

            Reply
        • Susan E Box

          Thank you, Amy.
          Yesterday would have been my brother’s 64th birthday; he died after a 5 year struggle with cancer when he was 53.
          I also used art to process my feelings during his last weeks in palliative care. I also gave his eulogy and it meant so much to me to be able to do that in his memory.
          I’d like to share a memory of my brother, if I may.
          He and I had a game we played where we would “steal” a little something, a figurine, a picture, from each other’s homes whenever we visited. Sometimes we wouldn’t even realize something was missing until we saw it on the other’s shelf or wall!
          Before his funeral I pocketed a tiny wooden bird (which had been our mothers) from his kitchen. When I went to the podium to give the eulogy, I tucked the bird beside the flowers as I told the story of our game.

          I think it is the greatest gift to help people understand who our loved ones were and what they meant to us in a meaningful and memorable way. I was so impressed how you shared who your brother was with the doctor and how that impacted her and her treatment of him.

          Be blessed!

          Reply
          • Amy Maricle

            Susan – Thank you for adding this beautiful story of art and symbol here. XO

            Reply
      • Gretta

        So glad you shared your story! So many people have family members who have passed away due to addiction. It leaves such a gap and heart ache. May he Rest In Peace!

        Reply
        • Amy Maricle

          Hi Gretta: Yes, addictions are so pervasive and difficult. I hope that folks find some comfort here. xo

          Reply
          • Loradawn McKinley

            Thank you for showing us how you honored your brother with tangible beauty and thoughtful love. What a gift of vulnerability you share.

            Reply
            • Amy Maricle

              That is so sweet of you. xo

      • Simone Lenihan

        Amy you write and speak so eloquently in all that you share. Your authenticity and courage is so needed and appreciated. Thank you ❤️

        Reply
        • Amy Maricle

          Simone, that means a lot to me, thank you.

          Reply
      • Shannon Siegel

        I feel like I’ve found a kindred spirit in you, Amy. Reading your words, I feel moved, I feel inspired, and I feel grateful. I am also remembering my own brother, who died of a drug overdose when he was 37 after a 20-year struggle. I was in graduate school at the time working on an MFA in creative writing. I spent the year after he died, writing and writing and writing, making art from my grief and our family’s long history of addiction and mental illness. Thank you for sharing your process. It makes me grateful to be alive.

        Reply
        • Amy Maricle

          Wow Shannon, this really speaks to me. I’m so grateful I was able to reach you and that you had your writing. xo

          Reply
    1. isa _siah

      You are so brave Amy. Thank you for sharing your and your brothers story

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        That’s sweet of you Isa. xo

        Reply
      • Laura Moyer

        Thank you Amy – I know your pain and grief too. Blessings to you. Art is my reprieve as well it’s what brought me through so much!

        Reply
        • Connie

          Thank you Amy. I deeply appreciate you and this post. Thank you for being you and sharing this.

          Reply
          • Amy Maricle

            Thank you for being a beautiful witness, Connie.

            Reply
    2. Suzie Amelia

      I am so touched by your posting, Amy. And I am sorry for your loss.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Thank you for bearing witness, Suzie, I hope it offered you something today.
        xo

        Reply
    3. Donna Cain

      Thank you for sharing Amy! What a touching, relevant story. I’m sorry for your loss.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        It’s so lovely of you to say, Donna. xo

        Reply
    4. Rollyne

      My heart is full and my tears are flowing.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        That’s a very lovely sentiment coming from you, Rollyne. Thank you for reading with an open heart. xo

        Reply
    5. Lisa

      Thank you for sharing this and for offering a means for others to experience their own grief through creativity. It’s a lovely gift of yourself. It’s also a peek into a little of who your brother was, for those of us who never had the chance to know him.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Thanks for your careful reading, Lisa, and for your beautiful comment.

        Reply
    6. Megs

      This was just wonderful Amy. Thank you for being in space that you were able to share this deeply personal chapter of your journey. It’s a privilege to witness your work and to be able to learn from you in all your great and small expressions of self. Much love and thank you.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        That’s such a love-filled message Megs. Thank YOU.

        Reply
    7. Judy

      Thank you for sharing from your heart.

      Xo Judy
      (Mom of an Addict)

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Thanks Judy. Hugs to you and your family.

        Reply
    8. Karyn

      Thank you x
      What an amazing sister you are, I’m sorry for your loss. Your husband and his family are beautiful to have been there for you both.
      Much love to you all

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Karyn – that’s so kind of you. Yes, my husband and his family have been amazing; I’m very lucky. xo

        Reply
    9. anja

      so brave of you to share such personal feelings. you did well. i think you have so many friends through your art that your story is so well received and safe. I think you made a leap forward in coming to terms with your brother’s death…….because now” it is” (title of a well known book about grieving author frank mccourt. thank you for sharing.

      Reply
    10. Julia

      Thank you, Amy, for sharing a sacred piece of your soul and your continuous journey of discovery through art. My heart goes out to you and your grieving process. The butterfly is a beautiful metaphor for transformation, freedom and release. Sometimes we just hold on so tight to our hurts, griefs and losses that we forget to just be.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Yes, art is a beautiful release. xo Thanks for reading.

        Reply
      • Mary Muir

        Telling our story and releasing the impact of emotions of grief is powerful it help navigate the loss and it helps open up ideas for others who are grieving loss in their life. Especially critical this year thanks for sharing

        Reply
        • Amy Maricle

          Yes, in this year of loss. That’s a good way to put it. Thanks for reading. xo

          Reply
    11. Melinda

      This story is so beautiful and heartfelt. It speaks to the true purpose of art. Thank you so much for sharing your story, your work, and a piece of yourself. ❤️

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Melinda – Thanks so much for being here and for seeing my work.

        Reply
    12. Michelle

      thank you. this is why we do what we do…
      your gifts of words and image are so precious. thank you.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Indeed, it’s so important to art it out. Thanks Michelle.

        Reply
    13. Yolanda

      Very beautiful, thanks for sharing

      Reply
    14. Jean Ann

      Thank you Amy, for your vulnerability, for your beautiful and heartfelt words, and your inspiring art. Once again you’ve shown us how powerful art can be, even the small, simple pieces, and how meaningful the process really is in the end. Powerful.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Thank you so much for your close reading Jean Ann, it means a lot. xo

        Reply
    15. Maura

      Amy,
      I remember you telling me about all of the beautiful art and sharing of stories to remember your brother. I loved reading about it again and I think it’s so great that you shared this with a larger audience. I’m sure it was so therapeutic for you and I’m certain that others will benefit from hearing this story. Love you, my friend. Xo
      Maura

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Maura – it’s so lovely that you took the time to read this post, and I so appreciate your kind words. I miss our runs and sharing this and all kinds of things. Love you too. xo

        Reply
    16. Brian Patrick Mulligan

      Amy, when I first saw your link, I waited to click on it until I was in for the day. I was afraid I would be in tears, but it made me feel good. I lost my friend Bill to cirrhosis several years ago. I tossed some of his ashes into the wind at the river in Chicopee, where he had started a theatre company long before I had met him. I plan to use the remainder of his ashes in an art project someday. My brother Bruce died 50 years ago (age 15) & it was 15 years before I talked about that–in therapy. And my brother Henry died 25 years ago (age 41). I imagine creating a large mandala one of these days, and I will know when it is time. Thank you for sharing your story and your process.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Brian – You are one of the most feeling, genuine people I’ve met in recent years. I’m so moved by your authenticity, your activism, and love for others. I’m lucky that you choose to shine some of that on me. 🙂 I’m so sorry about Bill, and I can imagine the art project will be amazing. I’m sorry for your brothers too. I think a big mandala would be very powerful. It reminds me of the beautiful sand art mandalas that get made in different parts of the world as part of Hindu and Buddhist ritual. xo

        Reply
    17. Lorraine

      Dear Wonderful, Creative You (Amy), I see your heart’s love in the translucent butterflies and can imagine hearing you speak from your heart for your brother, and in his memory upon his passing. My takeaways from this are many but my top two are 1) art allows us to express so much more than what is seen by the eye and 2) the ascending translucent butterflies you made not only expressed creativity, but also expressed the symbolism of the butterfly in regard to change, joy, potential, transformation and ascension. Monarchs pass through my town during their migration to the high mountains of Mexico. Many die before completing the journey but many more survive and thrive. Blessings to you. Thank you for sharing.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Lorranine – I love seeing how much you got from this post. Thank you. And I love the butterfly story, thank you for sharing that.

        Reply
    18. Nor

      Gosh thank you Amy. This is extremely moving Amy and very inspiring to me. I want to thank you for sharing such a heart-grieving creative process that you journeyed. Your vellum butterflies were an exceptional touch. I am teary and goose bumped from your words. Again, thank you for sharing. Love to you and the biggest of hugs. XXX

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        This is so sweet, and so kind of you to make me feel so seen with your words. I’m so pleased it touched something in you. xo

        Reply
    19. Annette Marshall

      I am very moved by your vulnerable sharing, thank you… Art is indeed a gift that can help us navigate and express our deepest of feelings and your example is a very beautiful one. I too use art to help me process my feelings and am grateful for the peace it creates in me. I have been following you for awhile now and you are inspiring me to finally start sharing my work. Thank you xox

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Dear Annette – It’s lovely to see you here. Art is such a gift to us all. I’m so happy I could spark you to make something today. xo

        Reply
    20. Sharon Fleming

      I’m so sorry for your loss, Amy. Thank you for sharing your art-filled way to process grief. Your vulnerability and hope are inspiring xxx

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Thank you so much for your careful reading and looking, Sharon. xo

        Reply
    21. Amanda Chapman

      Dearest Amy, Thank you so much for sharing this. It brought tears to my eyes as I am facing something that resonates very much with what you wrote here. It has given me something to think about as the next period of time unfolds xx

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Amanda – I am so sorry that you are dealing with something so difficult, and so happy that this has sparked something in you. xo

        Reply
    22. Dori

      Thank you so much for sharing this very personal loss and grief. I am so sorry for your loss. But what an amazing tribute to him, setting him free together with the Butterflies, which is such a strong statement. I fully understand how art can help you/us cope with the difficult and sas moments, as well as the good and happy ones.
      Thank you 💖

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Thanks so much for being here, Dori.

        Reply
    23. Diane

      Amy, I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing this post.

      Reply
    24. Hellen Riley

      Thank you so much for sharing your story and your feelings Amy. Reading this made me cry, it is very powerful and my heart goes out to you. I love the book you made and the butterflies, which have always been my special symbol during difficult times too.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Hellen – butterflies are an amazing symbol, yes. I’m so happy this touched you, and thanks. xo

        Reply
    25. Rina

      Just the title stirred my inside, I did not read immediately. Came to it later…I lost a brother three years ago. Though I think we lost the person, his potential long before. Hard to pin point a time when people make choices, bad ones that start the downward spiral.

      Thank you for sharing. Very caring of your inlaws.

      I still have to process the anger I have around my relationship with my brother. Letting go, and also letting the butterflies fly.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Rina, thank you for sharing your beautiful story. I hope that there’s something that sparks a path for you here or elsewhere soon. xo

        Reply
    26. Tereza

      Amy,

      I needed to read this at this point in my life. Knowing how to get around and move on. Thank you for sharing.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Oh Tereza that makes me so happy. Thank you. And I hope it’s a help.
        xo

        Reply
    27. Sheryl

      Thank you Amy for so beautifully sharing your story of losing your brother. Although you could not take away his demons when he was alive, you celebrated his life through your art.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Thanks so much for your comment, and for seeing it all.

        Reply
      • Cheryl

        Thank you for sharing. I have always used journaling to write through the pain of loss—documenting the good things and processing the pain. Now that I’ve become familiar with your slow drawing techniques, I’ve included that to my journaling practice and it’s added so much. I always look forward to the next FB live.

        Reply
        • Amy Maricle

          I’m so happy I can be of help, Cheryl. Thanks for being here.

          Reply
    28. Julie

      Thank you for sharing…your use of art allowed for honoring your brother and provide a sense of closure. Thank you for trusting us with your intimate experience. Your in laws thoughtful gesture of the butterfly plant was so lovely… you have love around you. Much care and support to you from me over the computer waves!

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Yes, I’m so lucky to have such lovely people in my family because of my husband. Thanks for being here and seeing me. xo

        Reply
    29. Roseanne Sabol

      Dear Amy ~ This is a courageous and beautiful tribute to your dear brother and his life. Thank you for sharing it with us. ♥️

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Thanks so much Roseanne. xo

        Reply
    30. Judi

      Sharing this helps with your healing and in a beautiful way helps others heal. It comes at a time when I am approaching the 3 year anniversary of my husband’s death. In that time I discovered art as a way to help my healing. I have filled many art journals where butterflies are abundant, symbolic of transformation and renewal. When my future daughter-in-law died of an overdose earlier this year, I painted over 80 flower pots to help process my grief. We had hoped to use them at a memorial, when we can do one. You have been part of my journey and this post touched me in so many ways. Thank you for being there for myself and everyone else. My thoughts are with you on your journey.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Hi Judi – Your words are so sweet, and I’m so sorry for all the incredible loss you are having to deal with, especially now. I’m so touched that I could be a part of your healing journey, and I hope that much more healing is to come. Hugs.

        Reply
    31. Marion Haigh

      Amy, again you have blessed us with your heart and given us the tools to help us on our own journey. May you find those special signs of the soul gently liting in yur garden and in your heart -thank you.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        That’s lovely, Marion, thank you.

        Reply
    32. Judy S

      Dear Amy
      Thank you for sharing the book you created for your brother and how art has helped you on your journey through grief and loss. Warm hugs. Judy

      Reply
    33. Carolyn

      Thank you for sharing this, Amy, and for sharing your brother’s beauty and pain. You and your art are a gift to so many—thank you. I’m sorry for your loss.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Thanks so much for the kind words, Carolyn.

        Reply
    34. Joanne Paquin

      Dear Amy,

      I took notice of your butterfly memorial in one of your photos once, and wondered if they had meaning. Thank you for sharing your personal story. You are a beautiful soul. May your brother Rest In Peace.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Thanks for being here lovely Joanne. xo

        Reply
    35. Heather Albrecht

      Deep bow to you Amy for your generous, open-hearted sharing. I still have my Father’s ashes in a drawer and have never thought about creating through art something that honors him and my own loss. You’ve planted a fertile seed🙏🏻♥️

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Oh Heather, I love knowing I’ve planted that seed in you. Lovely. So sorry about your father. xo

        Reply
    36. Deb

      Your story is so beautiful. Once again you are such a good role model for us all. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. It reminds me of the many intentions I’ve had for doing similar things. A handwritten note of (sent on a handmade card) is something that I always want to do and don’t get around to. Like the inchies I need to have the materials in my space … I won’t be perfect at getting the cards done and in the mail but at least I will be closer. Baby steps.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Deb – thanks for reading -and if it’s of any help, I find when I break those things into small steps, I do them more. It does seem silly, but it is hard putting together the hand written card, and such. Of course, then when I do it, especially if it brings joy, it’s so worth it. xo

        Reply
    37. Uli

      You are an inspiration to us through your art and your words. Thank you for all you do.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Thanks for being here, Uli.

        Reply
    38. Norma Allende

      Thank you Amy for sharing your heart with us. I lost my brother for natural causes and still feel hard to understand all the thing that he wasn’t able to achieve because all his drams were shattered too early.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Thank you Norma, and I’m sorry about your brother. xo

        Reply
    39. Rohini

      Thank you for sharing your experience. I can understand, having recently experienced loss myself, I have found solace and therapy in art. It is so healing. While mine was not loss of a family member, loss experienced hits all of us. Very inspiring post.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Thank you for being here, and for bearing witness Rohini. I’m sorry for your loss.

        Reply
    40. Lois

      Amy – I am so sorry for the loss of your brother. The creative process can be so healing. I know first hand of loss by addiction and using creativity to heal. I lost my daughter nearly 8 years ago to a heroin overdose. I was called to write about her and wrote a book of poems and used photographs for each one. It was a time of sadness but also a time of remembering the good times. Thank you for sharing. XO

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Lois- Gosh, the immense pain of losing a child – I cannot imagine. I’m so sorry. How beautiful that you created that work to live those memories. That’s what I love about art and spirituality – they create a space for me where I can still be with someone, even once they are gone.

        Reply
    41. Mary Tiffin

      This is a beautiful tribute to your love for your brother. It was so brave of you to share, thank you for opening your heart and sharing your story. I hope that your pain has been replaced by loving memories. Love continues…..

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        It’s beautiful to have these tools, and this platform. I’m grateful.

        Reply
    42. Denise Spillane

      This is so beautiful. My brother died young from addictions too. I wish i had my art at that time but I do now. Thank you for sharing this with us. Much love to you.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Denise – I’m sorry about your brother. I’m so happy you have all the art tools you have now.
        xo

        Reply
    43. Bonnie

      How beautiful and sad. Thank you for sharing this.

      Reply
    44. Kris Bilyeu

      Thank you so much Amy. I lost my younger brother several years ago also. He came home from Vietnam addicted to drugs and alcohol. There were several years when I didn’t know if he was alive or living under a bridge somewhere. When he get clean, after many, many stints in rehab, we re-connected and I had my little brother back again for a few years. He did die of cancer caused by agent orange. I still find myself, at times, getting so angry about the war and his addictions and my feelings of helplessness and his early death and then I remember his soul and what a special person he was in his heart and I am able to celebrate the man who was and always will be my sensitive and kind little brother. Thank you for sharing your memories and allowing for the space for so many of us who have grieved such a loss along with you.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Kris – thank you for sharing your story as well. It’s beautiful and sad and important.

        Reply
    45. Viola Mayol

      Such a loving, gentle way to honor your brother Peter.

      Reply
    46. Sally

      Thank you so very much, Amy, for sharing this beautiful and heartfelt post. You have a beautiful spirit and have touched all of us in your art community in so many ways. You are truly an inspiration in troubled times.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Sally – it fills me up to know you feel that I can inspire and help right now when we all need it so much. XO

        Reply
    47. Joan

      Amy,
      Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’m glad your art helped you with this sad loss.

      Reply
    48. Angel

      Thank you for sharing. I’ve lost both of may brothers in the last fews years to cancer. One conquered his smoking habit, fought his cancer tooth and nail, but still lost in the end. The other got scared and ran away from it, ignoring it and running into the arms of his addictions rather than fight. Both were hard to see, both were horribly hard to be with while the cancer ate them away, but the younger was harder because his addictions seemed so much more important than anything else, so reading your experience helps me add perspective and to really grieve. Thanks.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Angel – I’m so sorry about your brothers. I’m also so happy that I could help you a bit with your grief. XO

        Reply
    49. Carol Schwaber

      Amy you are a gift to so many. You offer ways to heal so many kinds of afflictions. I am so sorry for your incredible loss of your brother. I was so moved by your story of love and acceptance of your brother’s gifts and ability to see past his disease. Thank you so much for opening up in such a personal way. That takes a lot of courage and desire to help others. You show so many the way to heal which is not an easy path. But you make a safe place for all of us. I love your beautiful, beautiful heart. The world is a better place because you are in it.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Oh goodness, Carol, you are so kind to read so openly, and I your words are incredibly meaningful to me. Thank you for that gift. My hope is to give.

        Reply
    50. Eleni L

      Dear Amy,
      Thank you for sharing.
      With heartfelt feeling.
      xxoo

      Reply
    51. Linda G

      Amy,

      Thank you for sharing your story. God showed you a way to work through your grief and you took that way.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Thank you so much for being here Linda. For me, I would say I found a way, but yes, art has beautiful ways of offering us healing. xo

        Reply
    52. Sandra Lawrence

      Thank you for sharing this personal, loving artwork in memory of your brother.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        That’s so kind of you, Sandra.

        Reply
    53. Vicki McLain

      Dearest Amy,
      What a beautiful way to honor your brother. I am so sorry for your loss❤️

      Reply
    54. Jackie Hausman

      Hi Amy

      Thank you for sharing your story. I am using my art and journalling to grieve the loss of my 21 year old son from suicide. It is a powerful healing tool that I am appreciating even more so now.
      I love the vellum butterflies and will use that material in my creative remembering but with stars .

      Thank you for your work and blessings of healing to you in your continuous process of healing.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Hi Jackie – Thank you for sharing your story. I am so so sorry about the loss of your son to suicide. I send healing hugs and I hope that the vellum stars offer you comfort. xo

        Reply
    55. Christine Weller

      Thank you so much, Amy, for sharing this intimate part of your life. Your words are so heartfelt and authentic that I felt like I was right there with you by your brother’s side in the hospital as well as when you got “the” phone call. Your butterfly art is poetic and beautiful.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Thank you for your close reading, Christine, it means a lot. xo

        Reply
    56. Kathie

      Dear Amy,
      Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful, heartfelt story. I lost my younger brother, my only sibling, a year ago. He died from myelodysplastic syndrome, a form of leukemia. No one has my history anymore. You know, all those little “secret” things kids share and parents don’t know. I pour over old photos of him and your brother’s story has encouraged me to use some sort of art to honor his life. I am so sorry for your loss. You have helped so many of us today with your beautiful story. Sending you love and prayers

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Hi Kathie: Yes, I hear you on others not having your history. That’s a poetic way to put that part of the loss. I am so so happy that this sparked an idea for you, as it’s exactly my hope. xo

        Reply
    57. Elaine

      Thank you Amy for sharing this story of Peter. I totally stopped my art when my mom died in 2011, and just now have actually been able to put not only ink pen down but color too. I do not know if this will help my deep depression but I hope it does. I know the little slow draws are good for me and gets me going easy without big thinking it is mindful, and I appreciate it so much. I am also feeling better about putting paint into my big sketchbooks now too. I am so glad this has helped you and the butterfly bush is a wonderful way to see him always, keep it strong and growing dear Amy.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Elaine, I’m so sorry about your mom and I’m so happy you are able to do your art a bit more and more.
        xo

        Reply
    58. Debra

      Thank you, Amy, for sharing this! It moved my heart in many ways. I can relate on some levels of hating a loved ones addiction, while loving them with an aching heart that knows they are ultimately hurting deeply, because they don’t want to have an addiction. It leaves feelings of helplessness. Separately, I can relate to using art to honor and remember a loved one. Sharing vulnerabilities is powerful. This was helpful in many for things that have been on my mind lately in a desire to share some of my stories. Inspired. Thank you again for sharing.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Hi Debra:

        I’m so happy that this sparked something for you and resonated as well. That is of course, always my hope when I put something out there.Thanks for taking the time to write. xo

        Reply
    59. Verity

      Amy, thank you for sharing such a personal story. I know how much art has pulled me through difficult times. Creative endeavors always give me the space to process and find a way forward.

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        Verity – I’m so happy to hear that art has helped you so much. Thanks for reading with an open heart. xo

        Reply
    60. Lu

      I couldn’t agree more with all the comments above about you Amy. Having read through them all it is a shock how many others in this group have experienced deep loss once or many times. Your post reminded me of all the eulogies and wonderful memories that were shared about the person after the funerals and that’s changed me to make sure I tell these things to people when they are still alive. I too am so happy I came across you – you have made a huge difference and have also almost convinced me that I can be an artist having been told in school many years that I was rubbish which had always stayed with me :O)

      Reply
      • Amy Maricle

        HI Lu:

        I’m so so gratified that I can help you with your creative life! And yes, I think loss and grief is a part of the human experience and it touches us all. Addictions and mental health issues are far more pervasive than we think. Thanks for being here. xo

        Reply

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