Art Therapy

There are things along this journey of loss that may possibly hurt each one of us equally.  The empty Christmas Stocking, hanging by the chimney with care, is one of those things.  Last year we were in the RV, but we took our stockings on the road.  We brought Tuesday’s stocking, which may seem totally odd, but it felt much odder to leave it at home.  Our solution was to fill it with letters to Tuesday.  It bulked it up a bit.  It was a nice touch.  I don’t know what anyone wrote or drew, but we all put pen to paper, folded up our words and tucked them tenderly inside.  This year, when we hung our stockings, the pain was still as real and the questions from the kids about how Santa knows Tuesday is dead, were just as nausiating, but seeing that bit of form inside, knowing it was bits of our love for her, took the edge off.

When we sat to write our notes to Tuesday this Christmas, Spencer came up with a cool idea.  He read on his box of 64 Crayola crayons with the sharpener, (I know!) that you can print coloring pages from your own photos.  He asked to go through my iPhoto to find pictures of Tuesday.  We found a bunch.  I cried a bunch.  Here are the results:

I loved this project.  Going through photographs is draining.  Transforming them in this way did something magical.  Coloring is good for the soul.

If you don’t have a big box of Crayola Crayons and you’d like a box, leave me a comment and I’ll get one to you.  I liked it that much!  If you’d like to make a donation to whatchagonnado to purchase crayons for kids that have lost a sibling to cancer, go to

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35 Responses to Art Therapy

  1. Mamie says:

    So many parts to grief and loss. The way you as a family find ways to cope and bring love to her is beautiful. There are times when the shock of her loss feels like that first day… My heart and tears and still a smile for seeing all their beautiful faces go to you and yours in this new year, jess. xo amiee

  2. colleen says:

    what an amazing idea…so glad it eased your family’s pain…even if it was only for a little while….

    beautiful pictures…

  3. Tyra says:

    I love the coloring idea. Thanks for sharing!

    Christmas 2010 was our second without Steve, my one-true-love husband and my children’s amazing father. We hung his stocking above the fireplace because he’s still with us — just not in the way we desperately want. I expect it will always be there.

  4. LP says:

    So beautiful Jess. My heart bursts and bruises at the same time. SO much love.

  5. debi9kids says:

    Oh Jess. Sitting here in tears. Not because what you did, but the thought of you flipping through those precious photos…
    and the thought of Tuesday’s stocking full of your love.

    This is such a beautiful idea.
    Russ gets paid on Friday and I’m going to make sure to at least donate $20 to whatchagonnado.

    LOVE you Jess & think of you EVERY, EVERY day. <3

  6. Grammy says:

    I love the way sweet Spence has Tuesday’s photo right by his side
    on his top bunk!

    Great project ~ how in the world ~ can one turn photos into coloring projects?

    You never fail to amaze, my daughter!!

    Another chapter for your forthcoming book . . .

  7. Sharlene says:

    What an amazing idea. Coloring is incredibly therapeutic. I am sure Tuesday loved every picture they made.

  8. Candice says:

    What a beautiful project!!

  9. CC says:

    I have heard of using Art as therapy for people who are recovering from illnesses or accidents… but I think your idea is wonderful! That is so neat to print pictures and let the kids color them!
    You are amazing! I think of you often!
    God Bless!

  10. Jenn H says:

    Beautiful. Love you all.

  11. Liz D says:

    I think you guys are incredible.

  12. Terri O'Laughlin says:

    What an awesome idea! You have some pretty amazing kids! Love to you all!

  13. what a beautiful idea. My brother passed away this past winter and on Christmas day, we all wrote letters or drew pictures, tied them to balloons and let the lil kids send Christmas cards to their uncle. I thought of Tuesday as I saw my daughter’s pink balloon rise up to her uncle.

  14. ChiTown Girl says:

    Wow, what an awesome idea.

  15. Sadia says:

    Once again, you, a stranger I know only through your words, has made me cry from a mixture of grief, amazement, and respect. What an amazing idea of Spencer’s … and WOW how Piper has grown!

  16. Heather says:

    Spencer is one hell of a kid. I LOVE this art therapy project.

  17. Aunt SuSu says:

    Great idea Jess. Love the fact that the children want to fill Tuesday’s stocking with love. I hope you liked the ornament for Tuesday . That is one way that Uncle Jim and I keep her always in our hearts. We love giving ornaments and we love having our Tuesday garden every year. We love you all very very much and will always keep Tuesday in our hearts.

    Aunt SuSu and Uncle Jim

  18. Debbie M says:

    What a great idea! You have amazing children. You all are never far from my thoughts and my heart.

  19. Tracy M says:

    You are one incredible Mom and courageous person! (and did I mention ‘talented’) Thank you for your beautiful sharing and for your words of grace. Heaven is described by JanieRyan as such a glorious endpoint, each mention inclusive of Tuesday! Many blessings to you all and a very Happy New Year to the Whitts. XO

  20. Rachel says:

    You have amazing children.
    You are amazing parents.
    I could not imagine losing a child and having other children who are trying to understand it all at such young ages. We all are very much like the children with their questions. None of us understand the whys, hows and what ifs. I am glad you find ways to help them understand and honor their sister, why also feeling your own unique pain.
    Praying always for you and your family, and hoping to make a donation to your cause in February when i get paid.

  21. Rachel says:

    Forget February! I made a small donation just now. Wish i could do much more! Bless you.

  22. Lynn Worley says:

    Know that you’re always in my thoughts and prayers!
    Psalms 27:7-9 Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek. Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.
    Prayer Bears
    My email address

  23. Leigha says:

    I am going to do this with a bunch of our pictures of Jake!! Thanks SO much!!!

  24. Brandi says:

    Sending you love darlin’! I wish I could send more. That is such a wonderful way for the kids to remember Tuesday, honor Tuesday, and you’re right~get a little art therapy. Love it! We will be sending in a donation from taxes to get even more crayons!

  25. Lynn Worley says:

    Jesus is speaking these words to us still today! Praying!
    John 14:1-3 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
    Prayer Bears
    My email address

  26. Lynn Worley says:

    Continuing to lift up prayers!
    Psalms 138:3 In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.
    Prayer Bears
    My email address

  27. Lynn Worley says:

    Always here praying!
    Titus 3:4-7 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
    Prayer Bears
    My email address

  28. Jay says:

    That’s kinda rad. I think I want to color some pictures now. <3

  29. Tamara says:

    Spencer has such a good heart. That is an awesome idea! Your kiddos have some sweet coloring skillz =) Bless you and your family.

  30. Lynn Worley says:

    Know that you’re in my thoughts and prayers!
    Psalms 17:6-7 I have called upon thee, for thou wilt hear me, O God: incline thine ear unto me, and hear my speech. Shew thy marvellous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them.
    Prayer Bears
    My email address

  31. Lynn Worley says:

    Know that I’m still here praying!
    Jeremiah 29:11-13 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
    Prayer Bears
    My email address

  32. Lynn Worley says:

    Still praying in Seattle!
    Galatians 1:3-5 Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
    Prayer Bears
    My email address

  33. Lynn Worley says:

    Continuing to lift up prayers.
    Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
    Prayer Bears
    My email address

  34. Trish Loveless Tellin says:

    Jessica, you and you’re family & the way you all have handled your loss is truly amazing and such an inspiration. You’re doing a great thing with your website & blog. Prayers to all of you.

  35. Christy N says:

    What an awesome idea Spencer had! The pictures turned out beautiful! All of them!

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