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Color It Blue

Binney and Smith introduced the first crayons by Crayola in 1903. The blue crayon was in the first set of crayons and known as “Celestial Blue”

coloritblueScribbling with a blue crayon, I filled a paper this morning. My question as I scribbled was; how does one understand the sad events that happen around us? I struggle to make sense of untimely deaths, illness, trauma, natural disasters, etc. As a therapist working with children and families devastated by these traumas, I never fully understand.  “Coloring It Blue”, using a blue crayon and filling the paper, not trying to make it anything but blue scribble, is a process I have found helpful. It allows me to release the deeper feelings inside; feelings of frustration, anger, helplessness, sadness and more. Often these feelings are not readily accessible or talked about. Once I stop thinking and allow myself to let go and put the blue crayon all over the paper, I feel better. This is the process of taking what is inside and putting it on the outside.

Recently someone I care about deeply lost her husband due to unfortunate accident. Not only did she lose her husband but so did their unborn son. She is pregnant with their first child. Feeling so completely sad and powerless I remembered the process of “Coloring It Blue”. It worked well with the children in my practice who had lost parents to untimely deaths. Two young girls came to mind, as their father had died from cancer in what I call an untimely death.  Together we scribbled many papers with crayons. Then we begin creating quilts from shirts that had belonged to their Daddy.   This was an extremely powerful process for all of us.  I decided to do this for my friend and her unborn son.

I asked for my friend’s father to send me a collection of shirts from his deceased son-in-law. The package arrived but I couldn’t open it for several days. When I finally opened the box, I had tears in my eyes. In the box I found a collection of shirts in multiple shades of blue. I didn’t wash the shirts.  I remembered one of my young girls telling me while she created her quilt; “It is important that the quilt still keep the smells of my Daddy”.

blueCutting the shirts into pieces was difficult. The cut pieces appeared to represent the scattered lives of the ones affected by this untimely death.  Putting the pieces back together to create something important and beautiful became a symbolic process. Sometimes the pieces didn’t fit or I sewed them backwards only to try again until I got it right. The difficult process of putting lives back together after unfortunate and untimely traumas have ripped them a part, is no easy task. These lives are changed forever.

Creating this quilt was a healing process for me and a way of feeling less powerless over the sad situation. My hope is that The “Color It Blue” quilt can be a symbol for this mom and child of the love that will continue to surround them from their wonderful and caring husband and father. Even though he is not there to physically hold them, he will always be a part of them. I can’t help believing that he is a force behind the creation of this quilt. He will continue to be guiding them as they put the pieces of their lives back together to create something different, important and beautiful.  This is his way of “Coloring It Blue”.