The Beauty of Travel
acrylic and paint pen on canvas
36 x 36 in.
“I lost my best friend one year ago today. I miss my mom every day. She was my rock and listened with her whole heart. She could hear both sides of a conflict even though she was only hearing my side. Her true loves were family and travel and she lived in total gratitude. After conquering breast cancer 24 years ago (chemo/radiation/experimental stem cell transplant), she really began to live life. She walked the Camino de Santiago twice a year for six weeks at a time with a 24 pound backpack traveling 500 miles each time from one side of Spain to another. She went alone but met beautiful souls who became long-time friends each trip–through the communal meals, lodging, and walking.
One year ago we were slammed with the horrible news of “brain tumor”. Glioblastoma stage 4. My brother’s three little boys depended on her. I depended on her and so did my kids. She had too much life, too much stubbornness, too much grace, too much independence to be saddled with such a dire and debilitating prognosis. She fought hard but lost. Lost for the first time ever in her 71 years.
Next year I will follow in her footsteps on the Camino and lay down in albergues where she rested her strong fit body each night. I will drink cafe con leche like she did and speak with fellow hikers and enjoy communal meals. I will have gratitude for knowing such a strong, compassionate, committed, independent, open-minded, environmentally conscious, mom. She is missed every. single. day.
My art has flowed from the open wound in my heart. I follow in the craft of painting daily like she did. Her love of travel is featured in this work. Her love of life was evident in her final journal entry which said “Today is my gift. I will enjoy it. Birds are calling. Need to get going.” Go she did, but her heart lives on in mine. I love you, mom.”
© Dawn Barr