Saturday, March 7, 2009

Art Heals

2.5 years ago, Ian was diagnosed with a rare form of the bleeding disorder, Von Willebrand Disease. We spent hours upon hours sitting and waiting in Hemoc Unit at Children's Hospital. Waiting for Factor, blood to cease flowing from my babies body, waiting, worrying, being very afraid. All while loving and protecting my broken baby and teaching my preschooler not to be afraid and that life is wonderful. I was an angry woman, every trip to that place was like a death march on my soul.
Anger, fear and parenting do not go well together, so I really needed to get myself together.
I did this with my camera and with fabric, floss and beads.
I needed a portable project to keep in our "hospital bag". A small Glad container with lovely floss, fabric and beads fit in perfectly and a small embroidery hoop takes almost no space. I started my black on black project pretty early on. I'm still not finished, and my not be for a while. I do have bitter sweet thoughts woven into this project. Fear, exhaustion, pride, all sewn into one little black squirrel. It may be a while before I complete him, but I pull him out now and then and add a few stitches. It was good to have my hands occupied and something entirely different to think about.
It was my camera that really started the healing. Being behind a camera is like an outer body experience. You can hide right out in the open and see the would around you in a new light. I started photographing everything from hospital days to shopping at my local co-op.
Thankfully, these days are much easier and Ian's own Factor has bumped up a bit, so there are far fewer hospital days. We all breath much easier here and life is as normal as any other household with kids and too many pets. I still carry my camera everywhere I go.


Jillianmackowiak said...

Wow that is an amazing and moving story!! I am happy your baby is doing better and that art was able to heal. You are a bit of an inspiration to me, in how strong you were through a very trying time!!

Take care of yourself,
Jillian :)

Christine Ratliff said...

Thanks Jillian, that is a real compliment!

Garden Painter Art said...


This post really tugged at my heart. Although my kids have always been fairly healthy, I know that sick and dreadful feeling deep inside when something goes wrong. My life as a parent was changed when my best friends daughter died from SIDS. My first born was only 2 months at the time. Forver and ever, I was a changed parent. But I can still conjure that feeling of dread when I think back to those days.

Art can be so healing, and it has proved itself to be so many times in my life.

I popped over here to let you know that you won the "Rabbit's Curious Day" print. I'm just now getting ready to post the photos of Homer picking the number 12.

I'll need your snail mail address in order to send it. You can email me at

Thanks so much:
Garden Painter Art