I have lost someone very dear to me. My Auntie Ann recently died of lung cancer. She was the one person in my birth family who kind-of sort-of got me and my creative madness.

I've never been so grateful for the flexibility of my freelance work, because it made it possible for me to spend most of the summer in California, helping my aunt as her primary caregiver. Friends kept commenting on how hard it must have been, but honestly, it wasn't hard until towards the end when she started to fail faster and faster. It was hard to see her slipping away and to know that the only thing I could really do was to let her go.

Honorary Aunt Elaine, Auntie Ann, and Mom,
a few years ago in Ashland
(Doesn't Mom look very Judi Dench-like here?)
A few weeks ago, I was showing her some of my recent artwork. She had a bit of a clear stretch where she was aware and cheerful, and she loved seeing my art.

Sketch for Peaceable Garden Cats, something
I drew on a really terrible day.
I said, trying really hard not to cry and not really succeeding, "It's funny how, just now, when I'm angry and sad so much of the time, my art just keeps getting more warm and comforting.

And she said, "Well, honey, you're expressing your love."

I really was. I started drawing again back in June, while I was there with her. She was still mobile enough to move between her chair and her bed in the living room, and well enough to have company. I decided to enter a competition at the last minute, which is what got me drawing again. When I showed it to her, she was so delighted, it made me blush. She showed it to all her friends that visited her, and that made me blush too. 

Each drawing after that wasn't just an expression of my love for her, it was a reflection of the love she gave me, and her belief in me.

Thank you, Auntie Ann. I will miss you. 


  1. sending you love, light, and hugs... what a beautiful tribute...

    1. Thank you, Alison. If you'd ever had the chance to meet my aunt, you would have really loved her.