Destruction is Creation’s Handmaiden


I come from a long line of female artists. My mother, her mother, and her mother, were all painters. I used to paint, many years ago. Now, mostly I write. And dance.

Coming from this maternal lineage of artists, I have always highly valued create expression of any form. I guess that’s why I eventually left the tech world and settled into work that revolves around creativity and coaching.

Up until this year, only one of my mother’s paintings was hanging in my own home. It was a gift for my birthday a few years back.

That changed when mom died last year. By the end of 2008, we had gone through 52 years of layered treasures as we sorted through her belongings. She had lived in the same home for all of those 52 years. It was a many-month, river-of-tears, process to sort through everything she left behind. Sifting through the layers, we discovered more of her paintings, as well as those done by my grandmother and great-grandmother. We sold the house in the last few days of 2008 to a family that promised to love and care for the house my sisters and I grew up in.

Once we sold her house, I these treasured pieces home. I didn’t hang them immediately. I guess I wasn’t quite ready.

Then, one day in March, I decided to hang them. One was my mom’s favorite. Another one, I found out in her shed (I guess it wasn’t her favorite). The third was a water color that my great-grandmother painted almost 100 years ago. My home changed after these paintings were hung. Each day, I stop to appreciate them.

Just yesterday, as I was preparing to write this post, I found out from an old neighbor that mom’s house had been demolished. Bulldozed. The house, the garden, the brick walks she had lovingly created, destroyed in order to build a McMansion in a primo part of Silicon Valley. Mom, and her house, are gone. I know life moves on. This is now their new home to build.

I know that destruction is creation’s handmaiden. There can’t be one without the other. How easy it is to celebrate creation. How difficult I find it is to stomach destruction.

I wish I could end this post happy. I can’t. Right now, I’m grieving yet again.

This post is part of Gwen Bell’s Best of 2009 Blog Challenge
Day 13: What’s the best change you made to the place you live?

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4 Replies to “Destruction is Creation’s Handmaiden”

  1. In October I visited with My Mom and encouraged her to draw for me, again, like she did when I was little. It didn’t work. Your post reminded me to not stop trying.

    Beyond that, I am wordless. Grateful and wordless.

  2. Julie- don’t stop trying. As one door closes another one opens. Life is exactly like that. There is a reason for every event, a message, maybe to be yourself, create your own artwork, be your own person.

    Listen to the message and find the truth inside yourself, the strength within ourselves to be the best we can be. I know, easier said than done; I fight my own demons everyday and every night and it’s far better to give out advice than to take it ourselves.

    Your a wonderful person and this post reminded me when my mom died of cancer, after a difficult fight the previous summer, to die in January 2007. The same year my wife and I finalized our divorce.

    Now, I have to take care of my dad, he had a fall and broke his hip. He needed hip replacement surgery. So, we built him a new bathroom, moved the washer and drier upstairs, upgraded the living room into his new bedroom and built him a wheel chair ramp so he can enter and leave the house using his rolling walker. He’s only 88 years young.

    Happy Holidays Julie

  3. My heart goes out to you. I love the quote, and I agree with its truth, but that doesn’t make it any easier. And grief is such a fluid beast. I’ve found it best to just ride it.

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