The Artists’
Grief Deck

How-to

Welcome to the Artists’ Grief Deck. There is no correct way to use these cards, but we have these suggestions:

  • Set aside time for yourself to go through them
  • Find or make a space for yourself
  • Look closely at the images
  • Be open to the feelings that arise
Learn More

Names of Those Lost

While visiting the 9/11 memorial in NYC outside in the rain, I ran my fingers over the engraved names in the memorial walls surrounding the fountains outlining the towers. I thought/prayed for each st...

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Combating the Finitude of the Grave

You find a deer mouse lifeless at your doorstep and bury it in the yard. Place your pencil on the page where you imagine the grave. Now begin to trace the contour of the mouse: the skeleton, the pulmo...

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A vertically oriented photograph of the sky at dusk with a migrating "V" of birds moving from right to left.

Lingering Grief

I lost my Abuela to this pandemic. It's been months, yet I still cry all the time. She raised me. As someone whose primary love language is physical touch, the pain of not being able to touch her whil...

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A two panel black and white illustration where both panels show multiple hands touching and massaging other hands in a cascade.

The Power of Touch

Touch another person's hand and wait until the temperature becomes consistent. There is one more thing in common between you. If you are by yourself, put your hand on a surface or an object and wait u...

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Brown paper divided into a grid. Every other row is striped with shiny copper foil. Between those stripes, each square of the grid contains a letter printed in white forming a continuous stream of letters reading 'ASANASANASANASANA'.

Repetition and Healing

Think of something that you want to become part of you. It could be a loved one’s name, a healing word, a phrase. Say the words out loud. Let yourself fully feel them, and then write them down again...

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An abstract painting of a landscape that is mostly a rich cloudy sky. The bottom of the painting has swaths of bright red, blue and yellow.

Look at the Sky

Look at the sky.

Look at the sky out your window.

Look for all the variations of color and light you can see. Maybe there are clouds and they are moving...

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An abstract torn paper collage - orange paper torn into small circles is arranged to resemble fish scales, forming two semi-circles that meet in the center. Blue torn paper circles fill the gap behind the orange.

Processing Grief

I try to do one task a day. One day I am painting the paper, finding the right colors, letting it dry. On another day I’m ready to rip it up. Sit and rip, and rip and rip. I rip into similar shapes...

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A mixed media artwork that has a textured background that resembles water meeting a shore. A long bottle is cutout and collaged in the lower right as if it has washed to shore.

Washed Ashore

We often ‘bottle’ up our emotions because they are just too much to deal with. We might cork them up and throw them out into the ocean hoping they will leave us forever. But without paying attenti...

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A painting of a female face with dark hair, eyes closed, almost entirely obscured by rows of painted flowers in pink, red, and white which flow over the figure.

When Tears Won’t Come

My mother always said tears are cleansing for the soul. But sometimes the tears just won't come. Sit in a quiet place that can get wet. Wear something white. Put on music that calms you. Perhaps, ligh...

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A very dark abstract painting oriented vertically. The grey, ghostly forms seem to drag down the frame weighting down the bottom.

Distraction From Grief

Distraction from grief is a healthy coping strategy. It is not necessary to experience grief intensely 100% of the time to move through your journey in a health manner. “Taking a break” from the g...

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Caring for Your Whole Person

We are integrated people, made up of our physical, mental, spiritual and social components. Good self-care involves all four components. Taking a walk, eating a well- balanced diet, resting well all c...

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A print of a lush jungle river flowing to the left of the image. The colors are black, mint green and hot pink.

Letting Go

Visit a river or stream and bring a flower. Place the flower in the water. As you watch the flower drift downstream, keep your eye on it for as long as you can, keeping it in view until it becomes a t...

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Talking to Loved Ones

Whenever I am grieving over the loss of my loved ones, I talk to them in my head about whatever it is I’m going through, knowing that I won’t be able to hear their answer but also believing that t...

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No Right Way to Grieve

Try to create space in your mind and heart and take three deep breaths. Then Remember there is no "right" way to grieve. This is a personal process and there is no time limit....

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The Bath

Take a long bath. Soak yourself into the warm water, and close your eyes. Feel the water touching your skin, After you finish, Wrap yourself with your favorite bath towel....

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A black and white drawing of a person spinning LPs in a darkened room. There are many records pictured, and from many of them bubbles arise that have small drawings of memories inside.

The Power of Music

Music has always been a powerful and multifaceted tool that I have used to navigate myself through all kinds of grief and trauma. Oftentimes, we may be afraid to listen to the songs that remind us of our loved ones who have passed away, because what if the memories come back to..

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Colours of Childhood

Make your mark on the past. Having lost my dad aged 5 & several other people close to me throughout childhood, people expect my childhood to have been sad or dark. But in fact it was packed with c...

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The Bricklayer’s Dream

What do we do simply for beauty or love or joy? What do we do to enrich others? We spend so much of our lives shuttling ourselves from home to work and back again, sometimes losing sight of our humani...

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2019

2019, the year that brought me to my knees. The year I entered a major depressive episode with which I am still struggling. Living and working with chronic illness was killing me... my body and brain...

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