Meaning Making and Art Therapy
Bereaved people are left with a hole in their hearts and an empty space in their lives. Their whole identity may be up for question: Who am I now that my
loved one has died? What do I do now? What is my purpose or role now? How do I go on without my loved one? These are all questions that grieving people have to find the answers to.
One person’s answers may not be the same as another’s. Answering these questions is one of the central tasks of grief. Bereaved people have to reinvent and rebuild their lives, trying to make meaning now that their loved one is not present to share it with them.
Part of the grieving person has died along with their beloved spouse, partner, child, sibling, friend, parent or other relationship.
However, the bereaved also carries with them part of their loved one in their memories and their lived experience.
The time that you shared has changed you and will forever be a part of you. Your life is a reflection of the life you experienced together. As a grieving person, you will discover the old and new activities, values, and traditions which bring meaning to your life.
Above: This landscape painting of the view overlooking
Lake Erie was painted by a woman on the first anniverary of her husband’s death. As she sat on the rocks, lake water sprayed on her watercolor,
becoming a part of the painting. This she viewed as her husband’s playfulness, and as a sign that he is still with her in spirit.
Middle left: This shadowbox was created in memory of one woman’s parents. It includes some personal items, such as writing samples and photos, and other added symbols that tells a story of her family heritage and religious background.
Bottom right: This spoon was painted and decorated in memory of one woman’s mother. She used colors that they both loved and it helped her pay tribute to her mother’s nurturing presence in her life.