“Too Much is Never Enough”

On a wall in the corner of Julianna’s room, we kept a calendar.  That space is usually hidden because of an open door, so it was easy to miss. I had forgotten about it, in fact.

I found it a a few months ago, and I was gutted.

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Julianna died on June 14, 2016.  The calendar was stuck on the most painful day of my life.

This kind of thing happens randomly: little barrettes, scraps of her scribble, a striped kitty sock. It’s like finding a sliver of glass, but instead of stepping on it, it goes straight to the heart.

We’ve found good homes for most of her things, but these little pieces  remain. They are painful treasures:  unbearable, but cannot be thrown away.

My therapist asked me to think about something to do with the calendar. I didn’t have to actually do it — just think about it.

I thought, then I cut — and painted and gathered and pasted and glue-gunned and bedazzled. It took a few weeks and a lot of Mod-Podge, and now it’s on the wall where the calendar lurked.

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mixed media

It reminds me a bit of “I Spy”, something at which Julianna excelled. Every sparkly bit is meaningful. Besides strips of the  gut-wrenching calendar, it has:

– her “amulet” (watchers of Sofia the First will understand),

– part of the tea cup she and Steve decorated for the tea party she never got to attend

– a tattered picture (my dog got to it, and I couldn’t bear to throw it away, so now the bitten ends are obscured by a flower someone sent and a hair tie.

– a bracelet she made

And more. Like she said, “too much is never enough.”

I’m not an artist, and the message from this is not “When life gives you lemons…”

It’s doing something with the little objects that hurt so much, because she is missed — so much. It’s knowing that she would have loved it and imagining how she would have played with it (I think it would have become an obstacle course for her little toys. The bracelet would probably be a jail for the bad guys..)

It’s a way to remember, on my terms, in a way that honors her.

I’ll be doing it for the rest of my life.

15 thoughts on ““Too Much is Never Enough”

  1. This is a masterpiece crafted of love and memories making it the most beautiful kind of art. Thank you for sharing this with us and allowing us to celebrate Julianna’s amazing life alongside you.

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  2. Yes, it’s the little things that we can’t plan for, that we don’t even know to expect, that can throw us. My most recent “sliver of glass that goes straight to your heart” was a song. I’d heard it many times before without a problem. But this time, without warning, I heard my son’s voice singing it, they way he did so long ago when he was here on this earth. Even after 7 years, grief is a constant companion.

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  3. Finding things that cause floods of overwhelming emotions, conflicts of emotions and so forth is sure a good way to measure where you are in terms of acceptance of what can not be changed-, and in terms of where you are in dealing with grief. It is so odd, like dates, for example. Sure, we remember specific dates and assign more significance to particular meaningful dates… yet we overlook other dates. For example, the 1 year anniversary is really the same as the 1 year and 50 day anniversary… yet most people will experience the 1 year anniversary much differently than any other day. Same with physical objects. A loved one who saw the Moon, the Stars, the Sun.. we might see any of them and never associate the loved one with seeing the stars, for example. It it ALL related, yet our minds find patterns and some of the patterns that our mind finds can hurt, as you so beautifully and clearly expressed. There will be a time when you could find anything and it may not hurt so much…you know why? Because all objects that J saw are related, just as all dates are related. So the “why” has to do with the fact that it may not hurt as much because it’s not really the physical object that is hurting you….it is just a physical object making you aware of how your mind is doing.
    Therapists…. meh. It had damn well be a good person who is the therapist. Veteran’s hospital therapists for example are notoriously stupid. Psychology and especially Psychiatry is SO underdeveloped and absurdly not based on science. It will probably take 200 years into the future before Psychology and Psychiatry are actually valid forms of “medicine”. What YOU do is truly science, and i am utterly sure that you are educated far beyond what any therapist was ever educated. Unlike them, you actually practice medicine 🙂 So yeah, if the therapist is a very good person they may have something of value… for the most part anyone should tread VERY lightly and do not take any therapist too seriously, they are utterly pseudo science fakes for the most part! You are obviously ultra bright and ultra educated so im sure you know all of this, just a reminder because i care 🙂
    I think that after finding the calendar like you did, anything found in the future is less painful. Who knows, maybe the universe wanted you to find it because the universe knew that you were ready to find it. For every hurtful find like that, there will be dozens of unexplained things that you “find” or see throughout the days that will remind you of something more… that will make you know that somehow, somewhere, J is comforting you. Hey, I strictly believe in science but ive seen things that had to be from lost loved ones who passed… the things are there and always amazingly healing to discover. I’m SO sorry that the calendar hurt you… and i truly believe that you were meant to find it when you did though, because it is maybe a turning point. Take Care dear friend, stay strong. Sending love and strength to you and your family!

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  4. Thank you for continuing to share pieces of Julianna. Thank you for being brave enough to share your pain. Her beautifully unique spirit is missed beyond measure by many.

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  5. Dear Michelle,

    Thought of you on Friday at sunset when I experienced the most spectacular sunset I’ve ever seen. And at that moment, I thought of your beautiful daughter and you, even though you don’t know me. Your daughter would have loved it – so much pink, and so brilliant. 💕. If you’d like to see it, I’d be happy to send you the 20 second video I took.

    Love and hugs from one of your supporters in Santa Barbara.

    Tricia

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  6. Checking in to say hi, and to remind you and your family to find joy in each day. Even a little joy in each day is better than nothing! Stay strong! Not just words, either. 🙂

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