January 12, 2012

How loss can teach us...painting!

In September 1998, my strong-willed, funny, brave, cute, warm, intelligent and amazingly wise son, Yarden, died of cancer at the age of 4. He went softly into the night and I somehow found the strength to let him go, without completely falling apart myself.
I had already started my journey of 'letting go' two years earlier, when he was first diagnosed. That same night, he almost died. Many times afterwards we sat next to him in hospital, watching him struggle. But he survived so much, and gave me so much hope that he might just beat the statistics which the doctors (also wisely) hid from me for as long as they could. For he had a virtually incurable and fast growing cancer.
I learned, during that period and since, that life has many layers. That prayers come in many forms, and that miracles are to be found all the time, all around us. I still stop and stare with wonder when I see a rainbow in the cloudy sky.
I love the shapes of bare trees branches in the winter and the soft warmth of my duvet on a cold night. And I rejoice at the warmth of the sun and it's brightness in the summer, the clarity of the water on the beach, the new flowers of spring, the beauty of the last leaves clinging to the trees in fall.
We can mourn (and should) when someone we love dies. But we have to remember that in the end, we will all die. It's natural. And our emotions are natural too. The sadness, the loneliness, the missing of their warmth next to us. The relief we might feel when someone has truly suffered enough. And then, oh God, how could I have let him go?

I mentioned my journey. It was a sort of spiritual awakening. An 'Audrey Spring' you might call it. A discovery of what matters (to me) and what matters less. That painting, for example, can take priority over the laundry... I learned to laugh louder and to cry harder. I learned to trust that I'm not alone in this life, that if I want help, I'll get it (if I ask).
And so, as part of that self discovery, I reconnected with an old love of mine - painting. As a child, I learned that my sister was a more skillful artist than I would ever be. If you don't believe me - please - visit her site: (www.margotgran.com) So I quickly gave that up, and concentrated, much like the pilot in the The Little Prince, on more 'grownup' matters...

But when Yarden got ill, and the world stood on it's head and nothing seemed to make sense anymore, that's when the creative bug started 'itching' in me, and I began both to write and to paint.
Years later, here in Holland, I taught others what I had learned - Intuitive Painting - not the skill set to become a master artist, but a way to allow yourself - anyone at all - to create, to paint, to have fun with art.
Feel like being more creative yourself? At the end of this month (28th Jan), I'll be giving an Intuitive Painting workshop in the Hague. For more information, see this site: http://www.icconnections.org/info/workshops/workshops.html
Or contact Kathleen at: kathleen@icconnections.org .   Or if you want to join a 12 week course in Intuitive Painting (to be held in Amstelveen), please contact me via: www.creativetherapy.nl

To visit Yarden's page: Yarden's Fun Zone

2012 is bound to be a special year - Let's inspire each other!


  1. Audrey, you are one of the most talented, unique, courageous and inspiring individuals I know. You've helped me and many get through tough times with your wisdom, intuition and humor. Enjoy the workshop.

  2. Audrey, I admire you for sharing this, for being so strong and so courageous and what you do is amazing!

  3. Thank you both for your kind comments! I owe most of my wisdom to all the amazing people who have crossed my path over the years.... You are both included!