when a mural is painted over… your gift erased
I came across these photos yesterday of these murals that I painted about 15 years ago in my parents house. My mom had been wanting something with this Tuscan feel and when Skylar was a baby there was a time that we lived with them so I painted these murals kind of as my rent and a thank you to her and my dad. I was about 25 years old or so.
This piece was on a large wall that went up the middle of the house in the main living area.
Over in the hallway both sides were lined with similar styled, soft glowing italian countryside inspired art.
So these murals stayed up for about 5-6 years I believe. My mom told me many times how much she loved them and the feel it gave their home. My mom passed away in early 2009, her passing was unexpected and shook my world as you can imagine.
Fast forward a few years later and my dad and his girlfriend are living in this house and getting it ready to sell. My dad’s girlfriend expressed a desire to paint over all these murals with a soft gray color. I was completely okay with this. What I didn’t expect was the number of relatives and family members who heard that these murals would be painted over and came to me with complete disapproval. They couldn’t believe that they’d choose to paint over these. Over and over for years I heard this from people
I want to share why I felt so at peace with giving my permission. I think it translates to so many other areas of life. Even though I had spent dozens of hours painting these pieces, I knew that that was as a gift of love to my mom. As much as my dad was also there and appreciated them, it was really for her. I knew that I was okay with keeping those pieces sacred with her, when she was no longer there to appreciate them and enjoy them, then I was okay with understanding that the purpose they fulfilled was complete. They were no longer needed.
My next reason was more practical, I understood that these murals were not everyone’s taste and neutral colors sell better.
So, I consciously said goodbye to them, thanked them for bringing my mom joy and also felt gratitude that I was able to do something to have brought joy.
I don’t have a clear picture of that wall after it was painted but you can get a feel for the space after:
I share this because it’s not just about the murals. This could be any heartfelt, handmade gift that is no longer needed. Giving both the giver and receiver permission to release it knowing it’s purpose was served, love and gratitude were felt and it’s okay to let it go on to provide those to another. Or in the case like the mural, it won’t be re-gifted… it’s just done. No longer there. This could be a piece of decor that has brought great joy, like a bowl, dish, etc that gets broken. Instead of focusing on the breaking part, focus on the joy it brought. Say thank you for that joy or usefulness.
Everything has a cycle, a time. Sometimes we hold things past when they are meant to be there for us. I think as a society we have a lot of work to do in giving ourselves permission to release things that no longer light us up. Or to simply say thank you and let things, people, experiences go on their way. Hold gratitude for the role they played. This can also be a friendship or job… not all are meant to be forever. Things will sometimes end, don’t let the ending cloud the lesson and rewards of the experience.
The question I’ll leave you with this this, is there something you’ve been holding on to that you need to let go? Or a way you can re-frame an experience to find appreciation for it instead of focusing on the loss?
Sending you all love.