“When her pain is fresh and new, let her have it. Don't try to take it away. Forgive yourself for not having that power. Grief and pain are like joy and peace; they are not things we should try to snatch from each other. They're sacred. they are part of each person's journey. All we can do is offer relief from this fear: I am all alone. That's the one fear you can alleviate.” Glennon Doyle, Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed
My name is Tina.
I am an artist, a gardener and a lover of the simple life.
I am here healing, slowly finding joy, and myself, again...but I am forever changed....
Grief and trauma change you.
I love getting my hands in the dirt, planting, growing, and working with nature. I am a horticulturist by trade, and have worked in many nurseries, garden centers and organic orchards. Back in the mid 90's I was introduced to permaculture, and fell in love with concepts of Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. My bookshelf is lined with books about permaculture, self sufficiency, seed saving and simple living.
I regularly take little trips to the ocean, the desert, the mountains, and the forests... I love rugged, wild places, and being lost in them. These are the places that make me feel alive. I'm the woman who in a split second decision, is on the road with a half hurried packed bag, on a road trip with no destination in mind. Perhaps it is jumping at the chance of adventure, at the thrill of new places, exploring. Perhaps I am just escaping, distracting myself... Usually it is because I am longing to connect with the land. Needing solitude. Sitting with the cracked dry earth of the desert where, as impossible as it seems, little pockets of life spring up...a wildflower...a little creek with pink galah's and parrots bathing and singing.
Grief, Trauma and Loss. In the hours before my mum died, she gathered the strength to hold my hand and in a soft voice, simply said 'Be Happy Sweetheart'. Those were my mum's final words. Be Happy Sweetheart.
My mum died before my life was thrown upside down, twice. To be honest, I am glad she didn't see what I went through, that she didn't have to see me fall apart. It would have broken her heart.
I do find this hard to talk about, it still brings me to tears talking about the heartaches I have endured, and I do brush over a lot of details. In a nutshell, about two years after my mum died, my 10 year (wonderful, happy, loving, perfect) relationship came crashing down to an abrupt end, when I discovered he had been unfaithful, later to be informed it happened multiple times, with multiple people. I ended the relationship, and because of the circumstances, everything was lost, the house, the farm, the animals, the employment, his family, and I miscarried. I lost everything I loved. I was nearly 33 years old.
I was alone. I was scared. I was absolutely devastated.
I found a little house to rent, found myself a job working in a local nursery...and a year on, I met someone who I thought was amazing. I thought I had been given another chance with love, with building a wonderful life..and I finally started to smile again.
Fireside dinner dates, wineries, weekends away, reading books, singing along to music in the car, spending time with his children...slowly turned into me constantly tip toeing around his anger, his controlling behavior, his constant criticism, his drinking. I desperately wanted us to be happy, desperately wanted HIM to be happy. Sometimes it was good, sometimes it was miserable. Then one happy morning, we were chatting with his friends, who mentioned the "vasectomy that he had undergone long before I met him". I went silent. I couldn't speak. I went home, and looking back now, I know I went into shock, denial, depression... and I stayed that way, for a very, very long time...too long.
The following years were spent immersing myself in books about trauma bonding, c-ptsd and coping with childlessness.
Fast forward in time, and I am my own person, living my own life, and nurturing my own heart. I cannot even begin to explain the feeling of being able to choose what I do for the day, without fear.
I am still learning to how to heal, as best I can, and I am giving myself the time I need. Grieving for the children I did not have, is very hard to explain. Honestly, I could write 100 pages or more with all of things I think about. I remember a very good friend saying to me, “It’s okay to be not okay" ...and that was so much better than hearing the “it will get better's,” That message resonated the most deeply with me. My grief was okay. My grief is okay. It's funny that sometimes, people need permission to fall apart. It is from that broken place that we are finally able to become whole again.
I do know that it is so important to nourish your soul, to surround yourself in beauty and to take care of your heart, your body and your mind. Creating my jewelry, tending to the garden and spending time in nature are the things that really make me happy, and they are my biggest source of healing.
Some things I have learned about Grief and Loss... If you can be around other people - be with people you find comforting and supporting, who allow you to be yourself, not those who expect you to put on a happy face for their sake.
The full sense of the loss of someone loved never occurs all at once. You have every right to have feelings of emptiness, sadness, despair, even guilt and anger. You may be frightened by the depth of emotion felt at these times. Unfortunately many people surrounding you may try to take these feelings away. Friends, even family, erroneously believe that their job is to distract you from your grief. Most grieving people need to speak about their feelings, the emptiness, sadness and depression and 'tell their story', to make living more tolerable. Talking about your loss in reality will help you to heal and work through the process of grief so try to find people who will listen to you and help you feel understood and not so alone. As people who have been blessed with the capacity to give and receive love, we are forever changed by the experience of grief in our lives. We, as human beings, do not 'get over' our grief but work to reconcile ourselves to living with it.
Memories made in love can never be taken away from you. If your memories bring laughter, let yourself smile, if memories bring sadness, let yourself cry.
I found a lot of Love and Happiness in my art. This is why the process of creating something from the heart and sharing that love, is so very important to me.
Anyone can benefit from art therapy... if you’re struggling with a serious circumstance, like grieving the loss of a loved one, feeling stressed by everyday demands or just in need of a little boost. Focusing on the feel of clay between your fingers, those smooth lines that appear with the strokes of a paint brush or even composing a beautiful picture when looking through the lens of a camera promotes mindfulness, a powerful healing practice.
Sometimes viewing others’ creative works can help us heal through the message evoked or the medium used.
“If you feel something calling you to dance or write or paint or sing, please refuse to worry about whether you’re good enough. Just do it. Be generous. Offer a gift to the world that no one else can offer: yourself.” Glennon Doyle, Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed
I decided long ago, that every day really is a blessing. I make it a habit to rise early and watch the sun come up through the trees. The time of day when the birds are singing, but there is no other sound. I make sure to star gaze at least once a week, and leave the curtains open so that the moonlight pours into the room. I walk barefoot on the grass at least once a day.
I enjoy the quiet of nature. The Solitude. I enjoy nothing more than sitting by a campfire, with mug of coffee in hand, deep within a forest and surrounded by mountains. This is where I find myself. The real Me.
My mother passed away on July 15th 2006. Her name was Gloria Margaret. She was an artist, a writer, a traveler and a dreamer. Her life was not an easy one, and she had many hardships and many devastating heartbreaks from her childhood and during her life. She was one of those women who looked strong on the outside, but she was broken on the inside...she always seemed so strong to me, so independent. Now that I am older and have more understanding, I know she hid her tears, to be strong for me. I miss her, so much. My father followed many of his passions as an artist, photographer, graphic artist and sign-writer... living simply, growing his own food.
My two friends Sue and Don...I had known Sue since I was a little girl... Together they built a beautiful handmade straw-bale home which was infused with love and wonderful energy... these people sparked the inspiration in me... Don actually crafted Tipi's and Sue created her own drums. They were so passionate about sustainability and the environment... Staying with them, learning from them and seeing how they live in harmony with the land was very educational and the passion they had was wonderfully contagious. Sue and Don were both killed in a tragic car accident at the end of 2016.
“One of the worst griefs people feel is the longing for elders in their lives. How many times do we find ourselves in conflict, fear, or despair and wish we could receive guidance from someone who knows better? There is no shortage of older people in our communities, but what differentiates an elder from an older is not just age, but the wisdom they carry and the position they hold in their community. Among other qualities, an elder is someone who is committed to staying put, who has lived into the competencies of belonging and made an invitation of their lives to the young ones growing up around them. Elder wisdom comes not from the accumulation of knowledge, but from reflecting on life; instead of living in a state of unworthiness and regret, we can grieve and forgive the past, find the redemption in our story, and recognize how it fits into our ancestral mythos. This work becomes our gift to the future.” Excerpt From Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home by Toko-pa Turner