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
A photograph of a figurine with a round medallion-like head with eyes closed. The whole rest of the body of the figurine is swaddled in rough cloth, wrapped carefully like a small child.

A Grief Doll

This simple activity may help ease your transition. • Draw a portrait of your beloved departed • Rescue their handkerchief (or apron, or other cloth of theirs) • Make a Grief Doll and keep it un...

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A drawing of two long ladders that intersect and have their rungs entwined in the middle. One ladder is gray/pink, the other is wood and they both extend beyond the edge of the card.

Grieving the loss of control

Losing someone or something important to us brings home the fact there is much in life we cannot control. Control is something we thought we had, but ultimately there are many things in life we cannot...

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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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A digital painting - a small fluffy white cloud, fading into mist on either side, floats against a sky blue gradient, from dark blue at the top to light gray at the bottom.

Instructions for Becoming a Cloud

lie back and rest on the razors edge of earth and sky look up to the clouds now let go...

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I’m Here

Grief comes in waves. One day you're fine, the next you can barely breathe. The smallest thing can trigger a flood of emotions and memories, and it can be overwhelming. In my own grieving, I'm often t...

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The Letters of Loved Ones

Spell out the person or groups name vertically. Use each letter of the name and come up with a word that begins with that letter and describes you loved one(s). L ovely I ncomparable L ife of the part...

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Grief Rituals Honor Sorrow

“Measure thy life by loss instead of gain, not by the wine drunk but by the wine poured forth. For love’s strength standeth in love’s sacrifice and whoso suffers most hast most to give.” – U...

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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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An abstract black and white and grey drawing that has a ghostly feeling with images of peony flowers emerging from the right side.

Connecting With the Body

I grieve not only for the losses of the present but also for what could have been. If I stay too long in my head imagining the things I won't ever have, I can lose myself in a spiral downward. When I...

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A photograph of a crude looking abstract sculpture wrapped with wax paper and twine.

The Texture of Memory

What is the moment you hold in memory when you were the most alive with your beloved? Dwell in the knowing of that aliveness. Remember the light that day, the way the air felt around you. The sounds,...

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A painting of a Black woman's bust against a field of pink flowers. She has her eyes closed and is weeping.

Welcoming Tears

Patiently wait for the tears to come. When they arrive, soften your belly and welcome them. Capture the image of your face while it is still wet and flushed. Visit this image often. Spend time observi...

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Dear Future Ancestor / Nero Spiral

Meditation: "In the future the dead is all of us - jumped out of the earth to dance again. Every step a reminder of rhythm. Woven into our clothes gleam - dragonfly winged - I remember the good ghosts...

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1,000 People for One Person

"It takes 1,000 people for one person to grieve." Martín Prechtel Your village exists to witness this time. Your village existed from the moment you came here. Look around you. We will carry your gri...

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Grief Through Time and Space

Look up to the stars, and listen. What are they telling you? What are they whispering to you across the light years? Across the 5.88 trillion miles that light travels every 365 days? From every annive...

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A black background with an abstract symmetrical line drawing comprised of yellow and orange lines on the left half and bright blue lines on the right.

Stopping Thinking

Sometimes our thoughts can tangle us up, and we need a way to break the cycle. Try drawing with both your hands to make you stop thinking and to help you relieve your emotions and stress onto a paper....

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Feel With This Light

Find a supportive space to create a place to sit. Light a candle. Let yourself have some time sitting with this candle light. Your eyes can be softly open or closed. Think with this light. Feel with t...

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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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When distressed, go meet your younger self

Reconnect with the childlike wonder within you. Wonder that made you feel alive. Think about at least two things that gave you immense joy as a child. Close your eyes and try to imbibe that feeling. S...

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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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