Painting a different picture


Annamary was a 50-year breast cancer survivor and was honored at Race for the Cure.

When Carolyn talks about her mother, the strength of their bond and Carolyn’s pride in her mom, who was a nurse, mother of five and breast cancer survivor, come through. Those memories and feelings are also part of Carolyn’s art.

Her mom, Annamary, passed away at age 97 and was in a care facility the last four years of her life. Carolyn says both her parents wanted to live independently of their children, and "it's why I never had guilt about my mom being cared for in assisted living."

When she’s at Creative Mindfulness with Art, Carolyn says her mind takes off on its own path, and everyone has a different approach to class: “Some people talk and some don’t, either works! The quieter people add to the class by offering an understanding word." 

Attending Creative Mindfulness is a priority for Carolyn, who even logs in when on vacation. “After I retired, I recognized the full value of art therapy. I wasn’t as busy working and going to see my mother. Now, I fully appreciate it. The class makes my week better,” she says.

Carolyn recently experienced deaths in her life due to COVID. “At one class, we drew something hurtful, then drew pictures of something beautiful and scratched out the hurtful images. It helped me learn to erase the hurt, shift my focus to happy times, and change how I perceive a situation,” she explains.

Through class, Carolyn continues to recognize the beauty in her mom. “She was such a go-getter. In her last few years, whatever we could do together, we did. We sang songs and did silly things, like wearing funny hats on holidays. I’m fortunate that although my mom had dementia, she always knew me.” Annamary passed away in Carolyn’s arms.

“She had a full, whole life, and even though she had experienced trauma, she was a happy person, a survivor,” says Carolyn. “She ‘painted the picture’ differently. I’m continuing to learn how to do that in Creative Mindfulness with Art.” 

Learn more and register for a C.A.R.E. Program class. 

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