I have so few pictures of her in the months before her death, but this painting time was well documented with video and pictures. It felt momentous to me and after feeling guilty for not introducing her to paint earlier I was determined to capture it all!
We had a really wonderful time that morning. She painted for around 40 minutes. She made 3 paintings, clearly enjoying the process of choosing brushes, picking up paint and moving it around the paper, making different marks and pointing out different colors on her paper.
In this video she is showing her messy hands and her new found delight at saying "cheese" whenever she saw a camera. When I ask her a question she answers "da-ho?" She used this to identify so many things, we think it meant "that one".
I have watched this next video hundreds of times since she died and love the intentionality of everything she does. There are so many moments of choice-making, time for her to consider her options and make decisions about her work. It is such a spontaneous and natural process of exploration.
She was so pleased with herself afterwards and when Delphinium and Sasha got home that night I held up her paintings to show them and she touched each one and then she pounded her hand--fingers wide open with a flat palm--onto her chest and announced "Noyo!" (Magnolia) for each one. She smiled and accepted their praise and interest with so much pride.
I didn't know that this would be her first and only experience with paint, but after her death it made it feel even more important.
I am not a superstitious person, but I am aware of weird coincidences that are meaningless if she had lived, but feel weighted and strange in the wake of her death. The radio is on in the background of this video and the song "Little Talks" by Monsters and Men is playing and this filming coincides with these lyrics:
You're gone, gone, gone away,
I watched you disappear
All that's left is a ghost of you
Now we're torn, torn, torn apart,
there's nothing we can do,
Just let me go, we'll meet again soon
Now wait, wait, wait for me, please hang around
I'll see you when I fall asleep
I have watched this video so many times and the lyrics feel so completely attached to this moment for me. All I have now is the video and the paintings. Just ghosts of the girl who enjoyed painting that morning.
Her paintings hang in our house as a reminder of her and this moment of creative exploration.
In this week leading up to the crapiversary, I frequently find my mind firmly planted back in that week of January 2013, replaying the days and hours leading up to that awful Sunday morning. I scroll through my camera roll, my email, our paper calendar and remember what was happening. Each year I am so happy to see these pictures and watch these videos.
I am so grateful that Magnolia had this experience and knew this small joy in her final week of life.
(In January of 2014, I posted a blog entry about the countdown of images and videos that we had leading up to Magnolia's death. I was reminded of it when I was looking at these painting videos again. In case you are interested, you can find it here: https://rememberingmagnolia.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-countdown.html#comment-form)