Clearly, I was not operating at full capacity this morning. I was an hour and a half late to meet my friends for breakfast, my hair looked like a scarecrow, and I was lost in an area that was familiar to me. My mind was saying over and over, “I'm an idiot.”
After sending a quick text that I was lost and getting my bearings again, I thought about the negative chatter in my head and decided that wasn't going to define who I was. Yes, I had made several mistakes this morning. It just shows I am human. I decided to re-frame my situation. I'm not an idiot – I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection. It has been a rough month, a tough year, and being kind to myself is the wisest thing to do.
It is a testament to my choice of friends, that Don, Dawn and her daughter were gracious and humor filled at my late entrance. Even the waitress cheered as I came in and I felt well loved. After quickly catching up and gulping down a cup of oatmeal, we moved on to the main purpose of the day: clearing out some of Jan's studio.
Jan has been gone for over a year now. It is time to start downsizing the studio. Some of the cabinets will be going to Dawn, some of the art materials will be going to grandchildren, some will be donated, and still other things will have to be thrown away. I was given some things for my studio – a portfolio with Jan's name on it, a painting apron, some paint supplies that we used at some workshops we attended together – mementos. Some things I took because I couldn't let go. What am I going to do with a big box of canceled stamps? Collage? Stamp collecting? I really don't know, but I could just picture Jan thinking of projects to use them for and I had to keep them.
As a group, we did quite well. Each of us teared up over different things, and the others would offer hugs for comfort. We filled Dawn's van (which is the same van that Jan and I did some camping trips in many moons ago), put some things in my car, and we were done for the day. We will be back at it after Thanksgiving.
I zipped home to meet my husband and take care of some banking issues. It is now late afternoon and I have some time to sit and think and reflect. My day was filled with grace and art. Grace and Art were the names of Jan's parents. There's a lovely symmetry to that.
Donna Kemper put aside her art career to care for a mother she hadn't seen in over a decade. For seven years she followed her mother's journey into dementia, caring for her and putting forgiveness into action.