Artful Gathering Online Art Retreats ran from 2011 - 2019. Just around the time that the world began to experience the worldwide epidemic called Covid-19. I had already started my brief sabbatical from hosting our yearly online events and I expected to look forward to a nice long rest. After nine years of production, management, teaching, technical work, payroll, accounting, and networking, I decided it was time for me to take all those hats off for a while and enjoy some well earned R&R.
That was not to be.
Instead, what I was about to experience were two major life events that have changed me forever. I lost my beloved mother to cancer in 2021 and months later that same year, I almost died too.
The grief that began that year was hard enough. My mother passed with me holding her hand in February. By December that same year, I was on a ventilator. With no one to hold my hand. I was now slipping away from my loved ones alone in a hospital room where no visitors were allowed.
Covid-19 was not my friend. It was my enemy. It led to the worst possible news for myself and my family because I developed severe pneumonia. I had little chance of surviving on the ventilator, but that was my only choice. I owe it to my husband and children and family who all became my heroes. They fought for me while I fought for my life.
With little to no chance of survival on the ventilator, my husband moved heaven and earth to get me on the list for a new treatment called ECMO. It was my last hope. My only hope.
Weeks would pass before the tubes came out, before I could eat and drink on my own, and sit up. My mind was perfect. But I could not walk.
Two weeks of intense rehab and, my friends, I was out of there. I was walking, breathing pretty well, eating, drinking, doing my laundry and ready to get back to my life. I was thin, and my hair was falling out, but I was done.
I made it through, by the grace of God, and it is only by the grace of God that I'm here. Those of you who know me, you know the kind of person I am. You have seen me in our classrooms, you have corresponded with me, and you know I loved every minute of those pleasant exchanges and look forward to more. It is true that things are different now. I'm different. Better than before in so many ways. My own creative journey is still unfolding, but I'm here for it and I'm certainly glad of it.