This collage is one of my favorites. I made it in the spring of 2014
Like most of my collages, I started with the background. I knew that I wanted a lot of small text so I flipped through my magazines and tore out pages filled with words.
As I was Mod Podging down the background, I noticed that many of the pieces were from O Magazine with an interview Oprah had with Francine and David Wheeler regarding their son Ben who was tragically killed at Sandy Hook Elementary.
So, the much of the time as I was creating this Dragonfly, I was thinking about Sandy Hook.
For me, when I first learned of the shootings at Sandy Hook, I was in my office at a public school administration building in a small town in Ohio. I heard nervous quiet chatter about another school shooting. This one in an elementary school. The mood of the school administrators and staff was somber. Across the street from my office is an elementary school. The elementary school that my two boys were attending first and second grade. We all knew that it could have been us. It could have been our elementary school. It could have been our children...my children.
From facebook, I learned that a son of a friend of mine was a student at Sandy Hook. And, while he escaped physical harm that day, their dear family friends had not. They had lost their six year old son, Ben. Ben was the same age as my youngest son.
I hugged my boys a bit longer in the days following that school shooting. I shed tears as I read the stories. I, like the entire country, felt an uneasy rawness and was shocked that six year olds were gunned down in an elementary school.
But, when I was creating this collage, over two years had passed since the shooting. My life had continued, without much drama. My boys were thriving. Our family was fully intact...Something that I knew was not the case for the families of Sandy Hook.
As I cut and adhered down the pieces of magazine, I found myself wondering about the families of Sandy Hook. I wondered how they were doing. I wondered what the individual paths of grieving looked like for each family and for each person. I wondered about the moments when they were able to consciously choose how to move forward. What did they each pick?
Did they choose to feel love?
Did they choose to laugh?
Did they choose to celebrate?
Did they choose to imagine joy again?
Did they choose to play together?
Did they choose to see the gifts?
Did they choose to let happiness back into their lives?
Did they choose hope?
Or was the despair and loss too much?
I suspected that sometimes the grief was overwhelming and debilitating.
I hoped not every time.
I hoped that, at times, they chose hope.
That's what I was thinking about when I created this dragonfly.