|Shot Through the Heart|
This is Day 80 of my #6MonthsOfGrief Project. To learn more about this practice, feel free to visit Day One, where I explain this project in more detail.
I have been having dreams about being a wounded animal, often shot by arrows. It wasn't until this evening, as I was cleaning up the house that I realized that my late husband made arrows when he was a kid. He saved these arrows and I found them, carefully wrapped in tissue paper in a box that I found when I cleaned out his warehouse. I saved all of them, and they live in a vase in the hallway. After all this time, and 80 days of this project, I finally realized that an image of me and these arrows needed to be taken.
|Two of Swords|
Once I saw the image I had created, I immediately thought of the Two of Swords tarot card. It's not a very "positive" card.
- blocking emotions
- denying true feelings
- hiding distress
- avoiding the truth
- pretending everything's fine
- ignoring the warning signs
- feeling afraid to act
- reaching an impasse
- staying stuck
- refusing to decide
|El venado herido / The Wounded Deer by Frida Kahlo (1946)|
This painting in particular was created towards the end of Kahlo's life, when she was struggling with a lot of health issues that finally killed her. In the painting, Frida Kahlo is an animal/human hybrid, with nine arrows impaled in her body. These arrows have made bleeding wounds, but she shows little sign of pain. In fact, she is strong, staring straight into our eyes. In my Grief image, my eyes are closed, more like the blindfolded woman in the Two of Swords tarot card.
The antlers on Kahlo's head are those of a stag, which is a male deer. So Kahlo is representing herself as part male and part female, as well as animal/human. Some say this is a reflection of her own fluid sexuality. When I first saw this painting, I was only a teenager and I resonated so deeply with it. I had been "wounded" by my first break-up and I realized I probably had many more to come.
Today's Grief image, the Two of Swords tarot card, and Frida Kahlo's Wounded Deer all feel connected to me. There are dark forces at work in my life. My abandonment issues are at an all-time high. I am a hunted, wounded animal and I am also the hunter. I keep putting my heart in dangerous situations and closing my eyes, hoping for the best, while my heart is pummeled by arrows - arrows made by my late husband, when he was a teenager.
My wounds run red and deep. My grief is vast. My heart is broken.
I am very aware that this project can bring up a lot around yours or other's grief and loss, I will always follow every post with some online grief support resources that have helped me. Please feel free to let me know of online support that you have found healing in your grief, as well:
Art with Grief:
- Photographer [Sarah Treanor] Takes Moving Self-Portraits to Cope with Her Fiance's Death by Jillian Wong
- When the Fall Comes, a film about Grief by Adriana Marchione
- Self-Portraits: Expressing Emotion Through Art on What's Your Grief?
- The Hard Romance of Grief by Mark Liebenow
- The poetry of John O’Donohue
Living with Grief Resources:
- Modern Loss's excellent resource list
- The Rules of Grief are for Other People by Shawn Doyle on The Good Men Project
- Grief Bibliography on Grief Healing
- Teresa “TL” Bruce's What to Say When Someone Dies
- They Brought Cookies: For A New Widow, Empathy Eases Death's Pain by Ann Finkbeiner on NPR
- A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit
- Megan Devine’s Refuge in Grief
- The Geography of Sorrow: Francis Weller on Navigating Our Loses, interviewed by Tim McKee in Sun Magazine
- How to Be a Friend in Deed by Bruce Feiler in the New York Times
- 12 Things to Know About the First Year of Grieving Someone You Can’t Live Without by Laurie Costanza in Elephant Magazine
Thank you, and see you tomorrow.