Just one gal trying to find life's silver lining

Doing what works

I have always expressed myself better in writing .

As a child I addressed questions about hard topics (boobs and boys) and not hard questions (birthday parties and Halloween costumes) with my Mom and Dad via letters.  I would write and give them detailed instructions on how I wanted a response.  Mom would take the time to follow the directions and would give me long thoughtful responses. Dad never followed the directions … he would write back on the same note when I asked him to use a new piece of paper,  he would write in the margins or fail to skip lines.  It made me crazy! I kept notes from both of them anyway.

I have always been drawn to art but am not a particularly gifted artist. My mother is a talented artist, she used to paint and draw beautifully. A lot of her love for art fell by the the wayside as she was raising us kids, although she did do some amazing scrapbooking when that was popular!

I take after my dad in the art department. We both love color and can appreciate beauty but aren’t particularly talented at creating art. So tyedye rescues me from my burning desire to create something pretty and colorful without having to be painfully aware of my inability to paint or draw.

I made tyedyed ties a few days after dad was diagnosed with cancer. We were planning a living memorial in the hospital and I thought it would be fun for all the boys to wear tyedyed ties and the girls to wear scarves. G-Bob and I sat at the kitchen table and talked about Dad and my family while I introduced him to the chaotic art form that is tyedye. It was great!

After dad was discharged we didn’t have the memorial and the white scarves I had purchased went undyed. I keft them in VA as project for Christmas.

When Luke passed the tyedye ties became important. So mom and the girls and I dyed our scarves so we would match as a family at the funeral. The boys looked amazing!


So three weeks later I find myself planing another funeral and this time more people need tyedye. We lost our dad but my grandma lost her son and his 8 siblings lost their brother like we just did 3 weeks ago.  So yesterday I made another run at making something chaotic and beautiful and like each of my dads siblings, the results are different and wonderful.

I spent 3 hours of soaking and banding


and dyeing and drying and rinsing and drying.



I thought about my dad, my brother, my family and what makes it all so important.

I dyed myself because I am messy.


I dyed the ground because this is all so messy. My dog dyed himself because this is all so fucking messy!


And then, I cleaned up and folded the ties and scarves and packed the ones we will need for the Virginia funeral.


The rest are safely at home for my other aunts and uncles. They will have tyedye for the west coast memorial.

So I revert back to the things I know work for me. I write and I make colorful, beautiful chaos. Things will get better.


Comments on: "Doing what works" (5)

  1. Bless you Mary!!

  2. cindy wuthrich said:

    That is so beautiful and just made feel so proud of you and how you express yourself. And how you love color.. I can relate.. I love color but don’t consider myself an artist at all. But where ever I am I always notice color. I look forward to celebrating your Dad’s life in California with all of you. I will wear color for Neil, I just decided. I am praying for all of you. love Cindy

  3. Julie Cressman said:

    God Mary….you got me crying all over again!! Damn that is a great story. You amaze me and I feel like you must hear that a lot!!
    Love the fact you made a chaotic mess and that even the dog got into it 🙂
    I look forward to wearing my symbolic scarf at my brother’s memorial and having yet
    another lasting colorful memory of the great man Neil was. Love you to pieces…..

  4. Christy Bradford said:

    I can’t wait to wear one of your beautiful
    Tyedye scarves at the West Coast Memorial
    for your dad! Thank you again Mary for sharing what you are going through. Teri said the service in Virginia was beautiful, I wish I could have been there.
    Love you Mary & keep writing when you feel
    like it.

  5. Lisa Wenzel Sumner said:

    Ditto to all of the above, as your dad would say, “Sad face” I won’t be able to attend the West Coast Memorial in person, but will be wearing my Tyedye that day and will be with you all in spirit.
    Sending you and the whole family my love, Lisa

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