Art is a great healer and I believe it calms me down and helps me best during trying times. We recently lost my father-in-law (P’s paternal grandfather). While we were coming to terms with the loss, we had a greater task of making P understand the ultimate reality of nature – death.
This was P’s first brush with loss of a love one and hence it was an uphill task to collect our own thoughts and present it in a manner that a 7 year old can comprehend. While it is a moment of extreme grief, I wanted P to have a positive approach to the experience. So I explained the circle of life – of how to accommodate more babies, mother Earth and God calls back people who are old and ailing. And achacha (grandfather) was not in the best of health and hence was called back to join his parents who are now with bappa (his favourite God, Lord Ganesha). Of course P had a lot of questions which I tried to answer.
It has been few days now and P seems to be revisiting the experience and trying to make sense of it. That is when I thought I’ll teach my boy to use his strength – art, to express his emotion and feelings.
We spoke about his memories of achacha, the fun times he had with him drumming, pottering around the porch, sighting the squirrels and birds that came to eat the crumbs they had thrown etc. P spoke of the times when they competed about whose crumb the bird/squirrel would eat. I was glad he recounted all the happy times.
I then put out his art sheet and colours and told him to pain his best memory of achacha. P thought for a long while and then to my surprise painted this – him, achacha and our family dog Jocky. Jocky died couple of years ago and at that point we just told P Jocky’s parents came and took him back. Being smaller then, he was upset but soon got over it and busied himself with the other dogs, Droopy and Tiger.
When I asked him why he chose to include Jocky in the picture, he said ‘now I know Jocky and achacha are together and they will play together.’
I hope art has helped my little boy vent out his emotions and he will continue using it as a medium to inner peace, all his life.