Losing someone you love is always painful, but there are positive ways to cope with those feelings.
Danica Thurber of Boise, Idaho was just 12 years old when her father died suddenly of a heart attack. While she obviously felt his absence, she was numb to most of the pain until she got older.
It wasn’t until she went to college that the years she’d spent burying her grief caught up with her. She suffered a severe mental and emotional breakdown and realized she needed to find an outlet for her pain. Since she’d always been artistically-inclined, Danica gave painting a try.
As it turned out, the gobs of colorful paint perfectly symbolized the messiness of working through her emotions, so she kept experimenting.
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During this time of discovery, she created a self-portrait called “Being Remade,” which sparked her interest in using art to help others find healing.
Today, she is a certified therapeutic art life coach and runs Project Grief, an organization that encourages people to use painting as “a powerful tool for grief recovery.”
“Loss brings overwhelming emotions and thoughts,” the website states. “Sometimes we need a little help.”
Project Grief offers a class that uses 10 different art projects to examine various aspects of grief before combining them into one finished piece. Danica mentors the participants through each step, giving them freedom to work at their own pace.
Best of all, no artistic talent is required. One simply needs a desire to use art as a therapeutic tool.
Danica explained that their goal is to nudge people beyond being “grief victims.”
It’s where I was. Grief was the person who was controlling my life, not me, and I was letting grief make decisions and dictate relationships. And being a grief artist is what we’re headed towards. It’s someone who doesn’t deny their grief but takes it and uses it to transform their life.
What an amazing way to give back! And she’s doing it by reminding people that sometimes they need art to speak louder than words.
Please share this story to encourage those struggling with loss to find healthy outlets.
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