Friday, September 16, 2011

Why I feel I was given this gift and talent

As my brother-in-law said "I love to speak in public, but this is one assignment I didn't want." This was in reference to giving the story of his mother's life at the services for her passing. I have done many portraits of loved ones that have passed away. The first one was about 15 years ago. I wanted to do something to help the family that had just lost their beloved mother. The passing was in it's season, I think she was in her late 80's and had lived with diabetes for a very long time. This wonderful lady was a part of my family for a long time and we all loved her very much. I thought to myself, if I could sing, I would sing at her funeral. But this is what I do, so I will draw a picture. Then, as life happens, there were more opportunities to work through my own grief and help others by drawing a loved one that had passed on. 

But this one, my mother-in-law, my husband's mom, our Nanny, and my dear friend; this one I didn't feel I could ever muster the strength to do.

Not wanting to have any attention directed toward me at this time I did not want to draw a portrait. I asked my sister-in-law if they had found a current picture that they would be able to frame at the services. She said they were just going to use the bridal portrait that they had painted a few years back. I wasn't sure if they just weren't able to find an image that would work nicely enlarged and framed for the occasion. So I asked my brother-in-law if he thought that they would like to me to a portrait. And since they were putting a slide show together, asked if they had found one they would like me to use. Since her appearance had changed in the last few years, I didn't know what time period they wanted to use. 

And then came the challenge. The idea sounded great to them. But I only had one night to complete the portrait. And I NEVER got the image! He sent it, but it didn't come through. So with two hours before I needed to leave to assist with the arrangements for later that night I finally got the image. I don't know how my hand moved with the precision that it did. But I never made a mistake and didn't sit and ponder my next pencil mark. My hand was truly guided. And when I put the final touches on her eyes, it was if she was there with me, looking and smiling back at me. It was a beautiful experience. 

At the center of this family and in our hearts she will always be. We love you and will miss until we see you again!

And we are happy to say that this family picture is outdated yet again because of another addition. With two sweet babies. One that she hand picked to come to our family the moment she left this life and crossed into the other. 


Ashley said...

Such a touching post, I'm sure she knew she was blessed to have such a wonderful family. That portrait is beautiful!

Natalie said...

This was so sweet. You are so talented and what a great gift to share with friends and family.

Whitney C. Simms said...

Thanks guys

Brian Simms said...

Thank you for sharing that, it is the first time I heard the story behind the portrait. I have my copy sitting over my mantle where I can see it all day everyday and I treasure it. It is like she is always smiling down on me.

Whitney C. Simms said...

Thanks Brian. I am glad that it means something to everyone else too. I know that it makes her feel not so far away in our house.