Life Lessons – an illustrated journal

The watercolour sketches that follow are from an illustrated journal that I kept during the last

year or so of my mother’s life. It was the last year of a complicated, intense and often

challenging relationship.

For as long as I could remember our family life had been heavily weighted down by mental

health difficulties. For my mother, that culminated in chronic pain, extreme anxiety and

depression. Inspired by Mary Pipher’s wonderful book, Another Country – Navigating the

Emotional Terrain of our Elders, I made the choice to do whatever I could to love and support

my mother during the last chapter of her life. My husband, a palliative care physician, would

call this “The Path of Least Regret”. (sounds like something out of the Princess Bride, doesn’t


These sketches represent my efforts to truly absorb and live out the lessons that I was learning

from my reading. As such, you may recognize some of the ideas and phrases that came from

Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth, Elizabeth Lesser’s The Seeker’s Guide, and also Michael A.

Singer’s The Untethered Soul. Each morning I would spend a hour reading, and then, in an

effort to really grasp the essence of the teaching, I would create a quick sketch that represented

my understanding of the concept.

Today, more that 10 years later, I find that these sketches are still powerful reminders of the

lessons that I learned that year. It is my hope that they might be helpful to others too. I will

annotate them, but feel free to skip the text and to let the pictures speak for themselves. I have

loosely organized them according to topic rather than chronologically, but most of them are

dated. I hope to post these one at a time over the next month or so.

Sent into the world with love – Deirdre Love

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